Signs & symptoms of mental illness

When a medical professional diagnosis someone with a mental illness, they use a book, the DSM 5, to look up a list of symptoms that match the theory that they have about which mental illness their patient is experiencing. Below I am going to list the different symptoms that either myself, my family, or my friends noticed about me which later got me diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and now PTSD. I wrote a post similar to this back n April, but I didn’t go into detail, so here is an updated version of that post.

  1. I was irritable 24/7- According to my parents, any and everything set me off. No matter how big or how small the inconvenience was, I couldn’t cope with the change, I would just blow up. I also started to notice this in myself; I would try and suppress those emotions, but I found myself constantly getting pissed off at every little thing that came into my path.
  2. Morbid thoughts- My thoughts were extremely morbid. I would think of different ways of how one person could do, and every scenario possible would play in my head every day. It was very unhealthy. I was pessimistic about every-thing, nothing was every good enough in the world.
  3. Thoughts of suicide- The obvious symptom of my specific mental illness was thoughts of wanting to hurt or kill myself.
  4. Self-harm-self harm can be used for a few different reasons, for different people, with different illnesses. I would self-harm every single day, and wore long sleeves frequently, including in the summer.
  5. Body aches-My body was just aching all of the time, I didn’t hardly want to move out of bed because the pain was equivalent to a bone break.
  6. Sleeping 12+ hours a day-I slept and still sleep at least 12 hours every day. Before the anti-depressants I was so fatigued, you would have thought I had worked four 12 hour shifts in four days, but I wasn’t, I hadn’t one anything but simply go to school, or go to practice. I didn’t hang out with my friends anymore, so I wasn’t ever out unless I was at cheer or school, so that was concerning.
  7. Anxiety-Depression and anxiety usually go hand in hand, but of course anxiety can be comorbid with any other type of mental illness. I noticed my heart fluttering more and more. I was terribly nervous about everything I did. I equivalated my anxiety to waking up every day, and feeling like I had to give a presentation, except, I felt like that every minute I was awake.
  8. People pleasing- people pleasing is a common trait of most people, but there comes a point to where it has to stop when it starts to affect your mental health. Personally, I would do whatever it took to keep peace in my family’s household, even if that meant making myself feel terrible about situations that had nothing to do with me.
  9. Stress-I stressed so much to where I would raise my blood pressure to stroke level. I had to go to the ER because I thought I was having a panic attack and didn’t know what to do, and the trauma doctor told me my V waves resembled that of a heart attack. I would worry about things way before it was even time to worry. I would also make other people’s problems my problems
  10. Trembling-I would find myself shaking all the time because I was so nervous.
  11. Feelings of apathy/emptiness-nothing made e happy anymore, not even the things I cherished the most, that was scary to feel.
  12. Decreased appetite-I ate like a rabbit, not being of my eating disorder, but because I genuinely was not hungry. It’s almost like my appetite was suppressed, I was literally so sad I couldn’t eat.

These symptoms are specific to me and my illnesses but also generic enough that they can be found in other mental illnesses. I hope this list gives you a bit of insight of some of the more common symptoms of mental illness.

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A poll:

I really value the opinions of my readers, so much. I have taken the past 3 weeks to reflect on my time in a psychiatric hospital recently, and I have my pros and cons. Some pros being the amazing people you get to meet, the treatment you receive, and the reflection you make upon yourself during your stay. Some cons being, your freedom is taken away, you’re isolated from the people you love, and It can be a very scary environment. What I want to hear from you all is what your opinions are on psychiatric (in-patient) hospitals, and if you have ever been admitted into one, and what was your experience? Let me know below in the comments!

I almost fell victim to suicide, again

This is a very hard post to write because I feel like I have failed you all, in a sense. Tuesday April 23rd, I was hospitalized for attempting to kill myself via overdose. It was my first inpatient experience since battling mental illness. I have been sent to the ER many times, but never hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. I had little to no contact with my family, it was, no doubt, the scariest moment of my life. I am going to be as honest and as raw as I can with this, so I can send the message that while, I thought I was “supposed” to have to together because I run a mental health blog, that that doesn’t mean I still don’t have a mental illness.

I had not been taking my meds regularly and so it was building up as days went by. Certain events in my life caused me to go over the edge, but not being on my meds definitely triggered the explosion. I was staying at the sorority house for two weeks because I had a meltdown at one of our events, and my sisters wouldn’t let me go home until I felt safe. They nurtured me, and loved me, even when I didn’t want their love, all I wanted to do was to die. Week 2 of staying at the sorority house, and I needed to go back to my house to get a change of clothes. A sister dropped me off at home for a few hours to gather my things and do some laundry. I didn’t last even 2 hours in my house alone, before I tried to kill myself. I called her and she rushed back over to find me weak, lethargic, and cleaning vomit out of my carpet. What stopped me from succeeding, you might ask? Gag reflex. That’s it. No revelation, no coming to Jesus moment, nothing. Just something as simple as I couldn’t get every pill I had, down, before my stomach had enough, so I was admitted. I was taken to the hospital in a police car with my school’s counselor and her boss. They were the absolute best because I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t want to leave my sisters, I missed my parents, I was alone, I just wanted to die even more.

I had never been in a psychiatric hospital before, so the admissions process was scary. The counselors did all of the work, as I was just sitting there staring blankly at the walls. I was cold, sad, and scared. I remember the last thing my therapist said to me before she walked out. She said, “I have only sent kids here, I have not actually been here. I came with you because you deserve to not want to die, and I wanted to make sure you got that experience.” As she said those words to me, a single tear fell down her face, and I was in shock. I was thinking to myself, “this is really happening”. Days went by and I wanted to go home even more. My grandad and my parents came to see me. I have never seen such pitiful looks on their faces before. They were heartbroken, and just did not know what to do at this point. This was the first time I had ever seen my mom cry in front of me. That broke me. That week I was also diagnosed with PTSD along with my other diagnoses I already had. I was terrified when the Dr. told me this. I was thinking what’s wrong with me? What have I gotten myself into? This can’t be the same Taylor that was here 3 weeks ago, it just can’t be. But it was. This is who I am, and this is who I’ll continue to be, but there is nothing wrong with that. I have struggled with mental illness for 6 years now, and I have accepted the fact that I will continue to do for the rest of my life. I will keep fighting for the rest of my life. A scary realization I had never had until I was inpatient, was that I never really processed the fact that I almost died, genuinely almost died. My Dr. told me, he couldn’t let me go home when I wanted to, because I would have been dead if I hadn’t thrown up. He told me my parents would have been planning my funeral, and that was a gruesome reality that I just couldn’t cope with. I couldn’t do that to my family, my friends, my sisters.

The whole reason I even made this post was because I had this perception of myself, that I was supposed to be perfect because I have a blog that helps people, but as I have stated before, and as the title of this blog, I am in my road to recovery. I make make mistakes, and yes, I too, relapse. I was so scared to blog about this because I didn’t want anyone reading to think any less of me, but I would actually be doing a disservice by not telling you all. Please just know you are not alone. That seems to be the go-to phrase of everyone who tells you it’s going to be okay, but its true. I am going to be okay, and you’re going to be okay. We are taking treatment one day at a time. Healing is not linear. Know that you are loved and there are so many reasons to keep going. If you can’t find a reason, use me, I’m your reason because I’d be devastated if you were not here.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

I hate nothing about you

I have talked about previously, what it’s like dealing with heartache and heartbreak with a friend, but what I haven’t talk about yet is what it’s like being “in love”, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time. Love is very cliché and complicated, but extremely unique to your own experience. Everyone experiences loving someone differently

When you are in love with that special person, your person, everything they do, you do. But also, everything they feel, you feel. You take on that person’s pain, which is essentially what you signed up for. You do things for them you wouldn’t normally do. Your judgment is impaired, almost as if you were intoxicated. When you love this person, you end up baring your soul to them. You’d truly do anything for them. They can do no wrong in your eyes, they are perfect. Until one day they’re not. They cheat on you, hurt you, leave you or choose someone else, and yet your love for them doesn’t waiver. You’re left wondering why you aren’t good enough for him or her. You gave this person your heart, and they broke it and left. You’d give your life for this person and yet they still left you. They say they love you, but the truth is, they love the attention you give them, but it isn’t reciprocated. The love you have for them is so much more aggressive then the love they have for you. You lie awake at night, every night, wondering why, just why they don’t love you back. The pain physically hurts in your chest because you just can’t breathe without this person. They left a void in you that no one else will fill. Your heart is broken because you just had to fall in love.

Something I have had to learn is that some people will never love you the same way that you love them. Many people have explained to me that it’ll get better, the heartache gets easier, but if you truly love someone that feeing will never truly go away. Whenever that person needs you, despite what they did to you, you’d be there. They will never understand the hatred you have developed in your heart because of how much distress they put you through. Love is a dangerous thing. It can help you or harm you. I write this post to say heart break is normal, being in love is normal, and you will essentially get through this phase. I have to constantly tell myself it’ll be okay, and that I am capable of being loved, bu I do also know it feels like you’re not capable of being loved by someone, but I’m reassuring you, that you are. We’re all going to get through this, we just have to keep on keepin’ on.

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

An update

Hi guys, I want to first, start off, by apologizing for not blogging for 2 months. I have been really busy with school, sorority life, and trying to take care of myself, essentially. Neverthelesss, that isn’t an excuse to not keep you all updated and to not keep this blog updated. A little update: I went through a self-harm relapse and suicidal ideations. I skipped a few doses of my medication, non- intentionally, but it still happened. I have missed blogging, and this is one of the reasons I started a blog, so I could cope with my own mental illness, while helping others cope with their own. I want this to be an outlet for all of us, but to do that I actually have to blog, even when I particularly don’t feel like doing it. With that being said I am going to try my very hardest to blog more frequently these next few weeks, hopefully one a week, and even more frequently once classes are done with. Again, I apologize for my absence, and I am going to try my very best to not let that happen again. I hope you guys are coping well, taking care of yourselves, and doing what you need to do to stay healthy mentally and physically.

A much needed farewell

You left me to die. Literally. 

You broke my heart and had the nerve to say I broke yours. 

You left because I was sick and had no control, 

but you didn’t care. 

You turned everyone against me and made me the only bad guy. 

Yeah, I did my dirt, but what about you? 

Huh? 

You weren’t perfect. You left me for dead, remember? 

I’ve been blaming myself for years, for something that wasn’t entirely my fault, 

it takes two to tell a lie. 

I cried over you. 

I cried for you. 

I hurt myself because of you. 

I hated myself for you. 

I wanted to die because of you, 

yet, I’m still sorry for something I didn’t do. 

You will never see me like you did before. 

I can’t come to terms with that. 

I thought I couldn’t cope without you, 

but here I am,

learning to cope without you.

You’re no longer something I need, just something I thought I wanted. 

And well, 

that isn’t good enough for me anymore. 

You’re dead to me. 

I don’t need you anymore. 

I know you wish I were dead, and although I don’t wish you were dead, you are, in fact, dead, 

to me. 

You were my everything, yet you threw me away like I was nothing. 

You didn’t look back, 

not once. 

You saw me at my worst and couldn’t handle it. 

I wondered for years why I ended up not being good enough for you, 

turns out, I was never good enough for you, 

nor will I ever be. 

This is me letting you go. 

I hurt enough for the both of us, 

but if I’m going to make it out alive, I need to be rid of you.

Im finally free.

Goodbye, for good.

 

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The big news is…..

Hello beautiful people! I had some exciting news that I wanted to share with y’all, and it’s kind of late and behind, but better late than never. The news is…….. 

 

I came out with my first book! It is a memoir about living with mental illness, and everything I have endured and went through from the beginning of my diagnosis when I was 15, to now, me being 19. It is very raw and descriptive, as I wanted to give my all to you guys. It was very scary to write it, as anyone is able to read it, instead of just the Wordpress community. It is on Amazon, and kindle e-book. It’s not very long, but it has a lot of material, that I am extremely proud of. I came out with my book in November, yet I am just now telling you all. I apologize for the late exposure, as you guys should have been the first to know. If y’all could spread the word, or possibly buy the book, it would mean so much. Your support has always encouraged and inspired me, so I hope I make you guys proud with this memoir. Thank y’all again for the inspiration you gave me to write this book. Go and purchase! 🙂 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Road-Recovery-experience-mental-illness/dp/1790160421/ref=nodl_

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Sleep and SSRI’s

SSRI’s or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are antidepressants usually used to treat Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders. Although antidepressants are extremely helpful, they do come with side effects just like every other drug you take. One of the many side effects that affects me tremendously is drowsiness. It is such a problem that it hinders my everyday life. I have to drink coffee just to keep me awake at 3pm in the afternoon. I will go to sleep at 6pm on Friday and won’t wake up until 6pm Saturday night most weekends. I get drowsy 30 minutes into driving so much, that I will have to roll the windows down in 20-degree weather just to keep my eyes open. I cannot seem to stay awake in class without some sort of caffeine. It is a real issue. Although I love my antidepressants, because they keep me a functional human being, and in a good mindset, I absolutely hate the sleepiness effect that it gives me. Most of the time, people think that I’m just depressed when I cancel plans or choose not to hang out, just so I can sleep, when in fact, I just can’t stay awake long enough to go out. I often choose sleep over school and homework, church, outings, or anything else really. Most days you’ll catch me in my bed asleep, and I cannot stand it. I used to love naps, and I would joke about napping all the time, but it isn’t a joke, and it’s no longer funny. I have talked about it with my psychiatrist a few times, but she cannot seem to find the issue other than it being a side effect of one of my medicines. I don’t want a second opinion because I’m afraid they will change up my “cocktail” of medications which seems to be the holy trinity right now. If any of you guys have or are experiencing similar problems with your medications and have found ways to help your symptoms of these side effects, please feel free to share, it would be greatly appreciated. With all that being said, my medicines are the best thing to happen to me, so I am in no one shaming antidepressants or antipsychotics, I just have a particular issue with one that is being very persistent and life interfering.  

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It gets better

*TRIGGER WARNING* 

Below contains my suicide note, that I wrote 5 years ago. If you are not in a good place to read this, I advise you to not to do so, thank you!

“So by the time you get this I won’t be here anymore. I’m tired. Not the sleepy kind of tired, the emotional drainage I feel every waking moment I spend breathing. The kind of tired I feel that it feels like too much work to pick out clothes to wear to school, or take a shower, or take my medicine. I’m tired of standing in the mirror with a knife to my throat wondering if anyone would ever find my body if I went through with it, or even care for that matter. I’m so sick of being unhappy and not meaning a single thing to anyone on this earth. I will be much much much more happy when I’m sleeping with Jesus and it’s better this way. Now that im gone l hope you won’t be furious with me for pushing you away and never letting you in. I’m so sorry for the pain I caused you over the years. Dragging you down my tideous journey of this soul consuming depression. That was never fair to you and I’m so sorry.  my soul is rested in Jesus and I’m covered in the blood of Christ so I will be at peace, I’m not worried. I’m not scared anymore because I’ll be with him. This is truly what I want and I do not regret it at all. No one knew how truly I miserable I was although you may thought you did, you didn’t. What you thought was going on with me was far less worse than what was really going on. Everyday was a constant struggle to get out of bed, to take a shower everyday, go pee, small stuff like that. I don’t want to go out anymore, not even with friends. This is not a life I am trying to live everyday. I know I could have a worse life and there are people out there who do but I could also have a better one, better than the crappy one I am living in. There’s so much going on in my life that you have no idea about and how bad it really is because I was too embarrassed to tell you in fear you’d judge me.  It just hurts so much to the point where I’m feeling physically sick. I don’t want to leave the people that I do love but I possibly cannot keep going with this amount of pain going through me. I have been strong for so long, or so I thought, and there is only so much a person can take, and I have hit my limit, therefore I’ve exceeded my stay. It’s better this way, you’ll see. I didn’t intend for this note to be this long so I’m sorry I was never enough for you.

10.26.14”

This was the suicide note I wrote when I was 15 years old. I am sharing this very personal and vulnerable piece of me because it shows how far I have come. If you’re wondering why I still kept this 5 years later, it is to constantly remind me every day that I will strive to never get back to such a low place ever again. The whole point of my blog is to show how overcoming and dealing with mental illness is possible, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As you see in my above note, I couldn’t see light for miles. I didn’t have someone to share with me, their testimony, of how it gets better, and I wish I had. I want that for someone reading this. If you are reading this, I am here to tell you that it, in fact, does get better, 100%. I know you can’t see that because I definitely couldn’t. I didn’t want to hear someone tell me “it gets better” who didn’t know what I was going through, but I know what you’re going through, and yet here I am with a purpose, just like you. You have a purpose. I am so thankful for all of you. If you’re feeling hopeless please feel free to reach out to me, and we will talk through this together. You’ve got this. You’re a rock star.

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