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As you read this, please note that I am not a specialist, I am not an expert in mental health, and I am not a doctor. I’m literally a college student trying to give you a bit of advice and maybe brighten your day a bit!
Mental health is a tricky thing. There’s no right or wrong answer to depression, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc. It’s not like going to the doctor and saying you’ve got a headache along with stomach ache and sore muscles. It’s going to the doctor and trying to explain what’s going on in your head, and why. The crazy thing is, you may not know why.
You may be in the same boat I was in as a high school senior. I found out the hard way just how devastating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be on your mental and physical being. At that time in my life, I had decided that I no longer needed to be on medication. After all, ADHD is just an attention problem, right?
Things took a turn for the worse. I was a completely different person. In a nutshell, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, my room looked like a warzone (like, worse than typical teenager warzone), my homework was piling up, I snapped at the ones I loved for no reason, probably due to stress and everything I had decided to pile onto my plate. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want my parents to think I was crazy, which is a stigma the mental health population has to deal with.
I got lucky. I am truly blessed to have the family and friends that I do. My parents saw that I was struggling, and they got me help. They had already been around this track once before. I had been on meds since I was about seven or eight years old for ADHD.
My mother drove an hour to take me to a specialist, talk about medication. In that appointment, I met the man who is now my current therapist. I was also put on a medication specifically for teens and young adults who have ADHD.
Luckily for me, it worked right off the bat. Now, as a senior in college, I’m still seeing that same therapist and on that same medication. Let me tell you, I have learned a lot about not only ADHD, but myself as well.
What caused my near-downfall was the fact that I didn’t know anything about ADHD. I knew what it stood for, and that it meant I processed a bit slower, I was a bit more hyper than my peers, and I had a concentration problem. Sounds like a pretty good summary of ADHD, right?
Wrong again. For me, it meant that I was very anxious. My mind would go 100 mph and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That kind of feeling manifested itself in my being an absolute terror to be around, procrastination, not eating due to stress, not sleeping due to stress, and overall extremely unhealthy behaviors.
This is why mental health is so tricky. If you put me next to someone who has the exact same thing I have, we won’t be the same. Our basic symptoms may be, but what it looks like will be very different. I might be more hyper than they are, or they may be less anxious than me. They may have depression and ADHD (which is pretty common).
For those of us who suffer from mental illnesses, the struggle is not just real, but overwhelming at times. It’s crying for no reason, not wanting to get up out of bed, not showering, but no matter what, if you just let it take over, it will consume you.
Now I’m not saying you have to go to that expensive doctor and get a medication that costs you $500 a month. Please, don’t do that if you can’t afford it. However, if you are lucky enough to have the support (and insurance) I have, take advantage of it. Go to that doctor, have a loved one you trust go with you if you are scared, and if you get put on meds, take them. If you don’t like it, tell your doctor and get a plan figured out.
There is nothing wrong with being on medication, or doing whatever you can to cope. If you can’t afford it, it’s not the best thing, but I’d recommend doing a Google search. You may be eligible to get assistance, or find something that you can afford that works. It can be natural, or you can take medications.
Don’t be ashamed of what you may have to do. I sometimes feel bad that I have to take meds, but the reality is, I kind of need it. I don’t rely on my meds. Medication won’t fix everything; you have to find things that work for YOU.
I have found that educating yourself about your mental health condition to be very helpful. That information can again be found by talking with a specialist or on a Google search.
Also talk to people. The ones who love you (truly love you) will still be there, even if you are a terror or you feel like you are a burden sometimes. I remember when my dad said I needed to get back on my medication. He meant it in a loving way, because he knew I was struggling. I wasn’t sure how my mother felt, but she still took me to that doctor. I’m also still dating the same guy that I was then. I still don’t know what made him stay with me after seeing me at my all-time worst, but I’m glad he did stay.
We are living in a society where there is still a stigma against mental health. My advice? Don’t listen to that crap. Do what works for you and get the help you need. Or find a way to get that help; there are ways to get assistance. The medication I am on has its own website, and on that website, there is a coupon that helps make it cheaper for most people.
I’ve found that pharmacies are usually pretty good about pointing people in the right direction when it comes to finding a coupon or assistance program. They may not always know, but it’s good to ask! Don’t want to take meds? OK, fine, that’s awesome! Find ways to cope either by talking with a specialist, friend, or family member who knows about it, and/or, when all else fails, Google can be your bestie.
At the end of the day, the key to this weird thing called mental health is you. You have to follow through with whatever it is that you need to do, and don’t overdo it. The last thing I want is for you to go max out your savings in seeking help; please, please, please don’t do that!
Well, I hope this helped you, my dear reader! Have a wonderful day/night and remember: you’re awesome!