Disclaimer – This post may contain triggers. If you feel triggered by this post then please seek professional advice and support. Please also note that these are my personal experiences, emotions, thoughts and ideas and do not reflect everyone who has the mental health problems I have.
I’ve decided to give you an A-Z of what it’s like having mental health problems. There’s a range of emotions, thoughts and ideas that go through your head on a daily basis and I want to try and capture them in a post. If you don’t already know, to give this post some context, I have social anxiety, health anxiety (hypochondria) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
A – Awkward – Some of my thoughts feel awkward and are awkward. The most obvious emotion here would have been anxious. I think to myself after the thought, why did I think that? It’s worse when they are repetitive, because I feel awkward if I ignore them. It’s awkward full stop, but I try not to acknowledge them, because that way they win.
B – Bearable – In all honesty, most of my thoughts are now bearable as I’ve learnt to manage them appropriately. It’s come through a lot of meditation and using some of the helpful techniques I did learn in CBT. I try not to attach meaning to the irrational ones. I still have thoughts that take over for a while, but they go eventually.
C – Capable – Battling my thoughts everyday makes me feel capable. I feel able to do things if I can push my obsessive and compulsive thoughts away. There was one point where this would have been really difficult but now it’s easier as I mentioned before. I’ve achieved a lot despite having my mental health problems so I must be capable of battling my own mind.
D – Defiant – I feel like I’m not letting my thoughts win – as they once did long ago. I’m putting up a defiant stance against them and saying “no” to them in the loudest possible way I can – sub-consciously of course!
E – Excited – I feel excited for my recovery journey as I am getting better daily. It hasn’t been a straight path and there have been many twists and turns. There will be more as I continue to get better, but I know I can overcome them myself and with the help of others around me.
F – Frightened – Some of my compulsive thoughts frighten me. They are flitting thoughts, they don’t last too long anymore, but I can’t help the images that come into my head or the thoughts. I don’t know what I’m going to think and that is frightening.
G – Glamourised – Mental health problems can be glamourised – and trust me, there’s nothing glamourise about having mental health problems on a daily basis. I don’t personally feel glamourised. With the opportunities we may get by working with charities etc also comes a lot of worry and stress, among other difficulties.
H – Heavy – My thoughts can sometimes weigh on me heavily as I am responsible for my thoughts. It’s not easy to carry the weight of having mental health problems around. They are a heavy burden and for many reasons.
I – Inadequate – Because I have mental health problems I’m “abnormal”. The thoughts I have are irrational and abnormal, so at times I feel inadequate to everyone else. It’s not an easy feeling to deal with. My mental health problems are a part of me and for a long time that was hard to admit as they haven’t always been there. It’s like accepting a new part of yourself.
J – Judgemental – I’m not a judgemental person towards other people, but I’m highly judgemental of myself. Having mental health problems makes me judge myself more. I think about things more because of the problems I have. While that may be a good thing, it can also mean I am too critical of myself which can affect my confidence sometimes.
K – Keen – I’m keen to get over my mental health problems. Simple.
L – Labeled – Having a mental health diagnosis, or two, or three like me means there’s a label put on you. I have mental health problems as I’ve mentioned. That’s a label. There are good labels and bad labels, for me this was a bad label that I struggled to accept for a while as I thought I would bounce back from my crisis and return to “normal” Sophie. I didn’t.
M – Mindful – I feel aware of my thoughts. I know they are there, but because I am mindful enough, I am able to bat them off most times.
N – Nostalgic – Nostalgia plays a big part in my recovery. I haven’t always had my mental health problems so for me there is a determination to get back to how I used to be. Although my mental health problems will always be there as they are chronic, they will stabilise to a point where the symptoms are so mild that they won’t be so noticeable.
O – Obsessed – That’s part of OCD. Obsessive behaviour. With my OCD, I have to do something to feel better. If I try to stop myself from doing the thing that makes me feel better (i.e. hand washing) then I sometimes obsess.
P – Panicked – Panic attacks are something I’ve experienced in the past. I still panic now and again, but I don’t get an attack as such. Panic is a big part of my anxiety, as my brain goes to the what if question straight away.
Q – Questioned – I feel questioned a lot – by my own mind and by others sometimes. I talk openly about my mental health problems and am happy to talk about them, but there is often a lot of questions attached.
R – Racing – I have racing thoughts a lot of the time. Because they come and go quickly it is a good thing. It means I can’t attach any meaning to them.
S – Strong – My mental health problems can give me strength as again I am battling my mind everyday and I continue to win against my thoughts and try not to give into them.
T – Tense – Feeling tense is something that comes with my social anxiety. I get tense in some situations, but I quickly ease up again. It’s just “stepping through the door” as I call it. Sometime’s it’s a literal door other times it isn’t!
U – Unpleasant – My obsessive and compulsive thoughts are unpleasant – especially the images. These thoughts are not wanted and I can’t stop them as I can’t stop them until I know they are there. It’s hard to explain really. I understand it because it’s my mind.
V – Valued – I’m still included in things despite having mental health problems. I am included in things which makes me feel valued as a person. It’s a wonderful feeling when people accept and value me, despite them knowing of my difficulties.
W – Worked up – My mental health problems can stress me out sometimes which can work me up. I can become irritable, but I want to stress that I am m never like that in professional situations i.e. at university/when out on a job etc. I keep myself calm and get on with the task.
X – Xd-out – My mental health problems have made me feel unimportant only once. I can’t tell you why, I just felt unimportant for one moment. It was a few years ago. I’ve never felt like that again!
Y – Yucky – A times I often feel “yucky”. What I mean by that is I sometimes feel “uhhhh”. Basically I feel under-confident. Not often, but enough for me to question why.
Z – Zealous – Having mental health problems makes me a passionate person as I want to prove I can do things. I feel devoted, eager and enthusiastic. It’s not to say that I wasn’t any of these beforehand – I was, it’s just now these feelings are even stronger because of things I’ve faced having gotten my diagnosis. They would continue to be strong even if my mental health problems weren’t there.
And there you have it – my A-Z of what it’s like having mental health problems.
If you’d read this to the end then thank you!