Mental Health Awareness Month

Hello readers! I know I haven't been blogging as much as I used to, and I truly do apologize for that. A lot has been happening, some bad, but a lot of good, on my end. I haven't given up blogging if that's what you thought! I just needed time to reevaluate myself and really get my blood pumping again to blog. I can't promise regular blogs on Mondays and Fridays like I used to, but I can promise that it will come back eventually. For now, I'm just blogging when I feel the need to write something.

As you may know, The Positive Castle focuses on many topics, like self-love, self-care, positivity, and mental health. As you may not be aware, the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I certainly wanted to make a blog post about this because mental health is very close to me, as I struggle with depression and anxiety. Sadly, mental health isn't spoken out a lot unless some tragic incident, involving mental health, happens. So I wanted to share with you my story on what it's like living with mental health issues and why bringing awareness to mental health is so important to me.

So lets backtrack to around early 2014. I was struggling from a breakup that affected me negatively. I would go days without eating, stay in bed for hours and not move, loss my love for things I used to enjoy, and felt hopeless and constantly miserable. I went to get a yearly physical, and while I was there, I asked my doctor if she could screen me for depression. After she asked me a good amount of detailed questions, she diagnosed me with depression. Now, I've never been diagnosed for anxiety (even though I asked to be many times with my physician), but I've shown, and have seen, many signs and symptoms of having it.

Ever since I was diagnosed with depression, and showing signs of anxiety, life has been different than how it was before I was diagnosed. There are days when if I'm at home and I see it's dark and rainy outside, I start feeling really down and helpless. There are also some days where I want to stay in bed all day and sleep or cry because I lack the motivation to do anything; I'd rather just focus on the pain. With anxiety, if I meet someone new and want to be close friends, or even a potential love interest, I start questioning my actions, as well as their actions. I'll tend to overthink, get stuck in my thoughts, and worry myself that I'm messing, potentially, a great relationship up. As you can see, mental health is no joke.

As I stated before, mental health isn't given the recognition it deserves. Someone having mental health issues is real, it's something they live with, and just because one may not physically see it (such as someone wearing a cast or using crutches), doesn't make it any less real. So as we continue growing and going through life, I'd hope that we're able to really make mental health important. I want to see more people talking about mental health in conversations, online, or in public. I want people to focus and realize that it's just as important as someone who has a broken arm or leg.

To the ones that don't struggle with mental health, but want to help and raise awareness, there's a lot you can do!  Before I list some tips, I also want to add that even if you struggle with mental health, you can help as well. One of the biggest ways to spread awareness is reaching out and talking. As someone that deals with depression and anxiety, it means the world to me to have someone I can talk to when my mental health isn't the best. If you see your friend, or someone you're close to, struggling, ask if they want to talk about it with you. They may say no, and that's alright, but if they say yes, listen to them.

Another way you can help spread awareness or do your part is by volunteering or donating! I know there are a ton of organizations that could use all the help and donations to spread awareness, to get the word out, and to help others who struggle with mental health. I'll be posting down below all the places you can donate or look into their site on how you can lend a hand:

  • You can donate to NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They even have a page here where you can find out how you can help out the cause!
  • Another great place to donate is at the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. All of the donations given to them go to research to figure out how mental illness is formed and ways to better mental health. They also have a page you can find out ways to get involved right here.
  • If you want to help more for the LGBTQ, there's two great organization I can recommend. You can donate to The Trevor Project, an organization that helps the LGBTQ people under 25 when it comes to providing crisis interventions as well as helping when it comes to suicide prevention. The second one is the Trans Hotline, an organization that's main goal is to prevent suicide for transgenders as well as support them when it comes to mental health. Definitely click the link and donate because they're trying to raise $35,000 in 24 days!

When it comes to mental health and spreading awareness, the only things I can recommend is be on the lookout for signs, try to lend a hand, or ear, to someone who is struggling, and talk about it. We can't keep pretending it doesn't exist, we can't just bring it up only when a celebrity, who struggled with it, passed away, or when the media makes a TV show out of it. It has to be an on-going discussion, we have to take it seriously, and we need all the support.

As I stated in the beginning, I know I've been a little off when it comes to blogging lately, but I haven't given up. I do have some more blog post ideas, some relating to mental health, some relating to self-care, and some just about how I've been doing. To my supporters, my readers, and my friends, I thank you for not giving up on me. I'm going to continue working hard and doing my best. I promise I won't let you down!