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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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_

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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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Having different mental illnesses

Having one mental illness can definitely lead to having another. Mental illnesses usually build on each other. For instance, if you have Depression, you are more likely to develop anxiety over any other mental illness (which is what happened to me), vice versa. Before I was started showing symptoms and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, I was only nervous about one thing, and that was public speaking, which is common fear for most of the population. However, after being diagnosed with Depression, I started to get nervous and antsy about everything for no reason. Simple things like talking on the phone to someone other than my mom and dad, terrified me. Public speaking became a phobia, not just a fear, at this point. I became obsessed with pleasing people, even if it hurt me, just so I could avoid conflict, I’d say yes to just about anything, which can be dangerous. I developed a constant tremor in my head and hands that causes me to naturally shake. I avoided anything that put the attention on me. I worry about things, sometimes up to 6 months in advance, which causes constant worry and distress. Of course, along with anxiety comes with anxiety attacks. I had never experienced an anxiety attack before, or so I thought. Every time I get stressed, which is everyday it seems like, I can’t short of breath, and my chest has the sharpest pain possible. It has been so bad, that I have gone to the Emergency Room a few times and have had a doctor tell me that he thought I was having a slight heart attack because that’s what my EKG showed, but because I am so young, and otherwise healthy, that wasn’t logical. It turns out I was having anxiety attacks.

With my anxiety came anxiety of taking any form of pill, which includes my daily medications. I had developed a Somatoform Disorder—- Illness Anxiety Disorder, which is formally known as hypochondriasis. For about a year I would take my medicine very month, and that is only if my parents were shoving it down my throat because I was so scared that I would feel nauseas, like I had when I first started taking the medicine. Nausea is a symptom of new medications, and I didn’t like how I would get nauseas every time I’d take it, so I just stopped taking them all together. Of course, that was detrimental to my treatment because I started to develop other physical symptoms that piggy backed off my Somatoform Disorder.

It took me a long time to convince my parents that I wasn’t ‘just’ over-exaggerating, but that It is an actual illness. Knowing my body, and wanting to get better, I got treatment for it.  Having multiple illnesses doesn’t make you weird, or a freak. Knowing you have them helps you get the treatment that you need.

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Breakups are hard. Should mental illness be used as leverage?

Breakups are never easy, whether they be friendships or romantic relationships. They ruin the glimpse of light we once had. They leave you sometimes broken, even years later. It isn’t easy coping with any type of breakup, and some handle it better than others, but wallowing in the loss of that special person, is detrimental to your mental health, and I should know, as I am still dealing with a breakup with my ex best friend that happened 2 years ago, and yet she has moved on completely.

I am doing so much better since the last time we spoke. It’s no secret that me and my mental illness were the reason for the ending of our friendship, and at the time I couldn’t see it because I blamed it solely on my mental illness. I was toxic to our friendship without even realizing. I made my problems her problems, and it took an obvious toll on her. I thought she was being hateful when she ended our friendship, but she was doing what was best for her own mental health. I was diminishing her mental health by sucking her into my illness. She will never get to know how much better I am doing, or all my accomplishments I have made in the most recent years, and I will never know hers.

Why am I still sad over it, you might ask? I am still very heartbroken because this person was my person. They were my shoulder to cry on, and the first person I thought about when I woke up. They were my absolute best friend. Some might’ve even called us family with how close were. We were never supposed to leave each other. She was going to be in my wedding, and I was going to be in hers, and now she wouldn’t flinch if something happened to me. It is so crazy how someone can go from being your everything to a stranger in the blink of an eye.

I wrote this post because some people feel they must stay in a toxic relationship with someone just because they’re mentally ill, and speaking from someone who is mentally ill, they should not fee obligated to stay in that relationship as it can be detrimental to their own mental health. Yes, it hurts when they leave because they promised they wouldn’t, but mental illness is serious, and some people just can’t handle it which is not a bad thing, at all. Do I miss our friendship? Absolutely. Do I wish she was still in my life? Of course. Will I ever move on? Eventually. But it is a process, one that took me longer than them. Mental illness should not be held over someone’s head, nor should it be overlooked.

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