Guest Blogger: Faithe Henry

Today in the United States, we face a serious problem with mental health. See, the problem doesn’t solely lie with under knowledge of all types of mental health. The biggest problems in my opinion are over- and under-diagnosis.

A lot of children are over-diagnosed with mental health issues, such as ADD and ADHD. Additionally, most adults aren’t properly diagnosed with possible depression, anxiety, and other such issues.

With that being said, let’s also think about the way we label such “issues.” These diagnoses should never be considered problematic in the way people today look at them.

Allow me to clarify.

I myself, as an adult, have been diagnosed with anxiety, extreme recurring depression, and to top it all off, bottled emotions. Now, to me, depending on a lot of things, these diagnoses can be problematic. Yet they shouldn’t be problematic to a stranger to the point that I am being judged solely on said diagnosis. I am not crazy, I am not going to go crazy, and I work hard every day to fight through these personal problems I deal with.

There are so many other adults that don’t get the diagnosis they need to tell them they aren’t crazy, and that they aren’t a burden to anyone. But mostly you can feel better and be yourself without feeling totally unloved or forgotten.

Then we face the fact that not everyone’s depression or anxiety is the same. I personally believe that’s why so many people are not diagnosed. To those people out there, there are so many people that are and have gone through this, so don’t believe you’re alone in this!

As for our children, I personally find too many children are being diagnosed with things that are just the way children are suppose to be. Our children are not toys to sit on a shelf or go to a class room to just listen, learn, and repeat. They are children and need to be allowed to be such. They should be able to run around, have bad days, not listen and just throw a hissy fit on occasion. They are still just kids and are always human.

Take a minute with your children and find the problem, and then find the solution. Then fix it in the way it should be done. Just because your child doesn’t just sit down and be quiet doesn’t mean they have ADHD. We as parents need to do more for and with our children. Heck, they may have some good points to teach us! Maybe if we actually let our feelings out more often a few people wouldn’t have some of the mental health issues they have.

Let’s say you have a bad day at work; don’t bottle it up, don’t take it out on your loved ones. When you get home, go somewhere and throw a hissy fit for a minute. Find a safe way to take out your frustrations without hurting yourself or others.

There are so many other mental health issues out there, and I am no where near a professional. I am still researching my diagnosis and finding what works for me. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone. Just remember if you are out there and feel alone, unloved, and that you aren’t yourself, there are people out there in the same shoes as you.

I know I don’t mind talking about my problems and will happily help anyone I can with theirs. Please remember someone cares and loves you.

 

Faithe Henry

Answering Your Questions, part II

I am answering ten more questions that I have gotten from readers and a couple that I looked up that seemed like they would be interesting to answer! Thanks again for all the responses!

  • What is on your current playlist and what does your playlist say about you?

My current playlist is all over the place. I’ve got a lot of different genres, upbeat, with a wide variety of lyrical topics, but mostly inspiring. I think my playlist says that I’m open to anything musically, but also trying to remain upbeat in my life currently. I have to say I am listening to a lot of Lizzo lately!

  • How do you show yourself love?

I take care of myself by remaining mindful of things that need to get done, but also being mindful of the food I eat, the amount of exercise I get (or don’t get) for the day, being mindful of the music I listen to based on my current mood… if I’m depressed, I do my best to listen to upbeat and inspiring songs. Mindfulness is key when showing yourself love! I always make sure to sit down for a few minutes, or shoot, even hours sometimes, and watching my favorite show or movie, listening to my favorite song, whatever it takes.

  • How do you stay productive?

Sometimes I have to make myself be productive, honestly. But other days when I know I have to get stuff done, like my homework, then I just do it. I think I’ve conditioned myself enough when it comes to homework to do it on certain days. Otherwise, sometimes I just have to make myself be productive, and I know that that is okay. I have to constantly remind myself that if I don’t have much of a productive day that tomorrow is a new day!

  • What were some red flags you saw that made you consider burning bridges?

Red flags are sometimes right in front of our faces, but we don’t recognize them simply because we don’t want to. I started burning bridges when I started realizing that my well-being and my mental health are worth way more than constantly being taken advantage of, lied to, cheated on, manipulated, talked about, etc. When someone truly cannot be happy for you when you succeed at something, there is a red flag. That means that they need that upper hand, that feeling of being the best, and you’re not allowed to have it. Or… they simply don’t care that you succeeded at something. That’s when you know that person doesn’t belong in your life. When you feel like you have to fight for their attention, and when you do get it, it’s a constant competition or a constant struggle to keep their attention, let it go. It’s not worth it anymore. When you’re never included in their plans but they get mad when they’re not in your plans, there’s another red flag. You don’t need that kind of toxic negativity in your life. Nobody does. But when those toxic people refuse to see their toxicity and try to fix it, let them go.

  • Where do you want to go, and what do you want to accomplish with your writing?

My writing started off as something fun, random, off the wall… I knew I was okay at it, but I never had any intention of doing anything with it. Now that I’m older and I’ve been writing for more than 20 years, I feel like it’s turned into something so much more for me. It’s therapeutic. It allows me to be vulnerable and advocate for something that means the world to me. I don’t have the talent of public speaking; that terrifies me to no end. But when I write, I feel like I can conquer anything. My main goal for my writing is to inspire people. When I realized that advocacy and helping people might be my purpose in this world, I turned my random, off the wall writing into something that might mean something to someone one day. If I inspire only one person to feel like they’re worth so much more than what their thoughts are telling them, I feel like I’ve fulfilled my purpose in the world. As for where I want to go, I love writing, I love research, I love analyzing data, so I’d love to use those things to my advantage. But I know I can also put those hobbies to use professionally and personally by hopefully helping those dealing with mental illness.

  • If you could invite three people to dinner, who would you invite? What would you talk about?

I’m going to assume this question means only real people and not fictional characters, and both alive and deceased.

If I could invite three people to dinner, I’d invite my best friend Katy that passed away last year, Kelly Clarkson, and my mother. I know it’s quite a difference there, but I’ve strategically picked these people because all three of them have had such an undeniable impact on my life and on my own mental health. I picked Katy because I feel like I’d have so many less regrets if I could just talk to her one last time about anything and everything. I picked Kelly because she’s my favorite singer, yes, but she seems like she’s such an amazing person to be around. I feel like maybe I could convince her to talk about mental health on her new show or something, I don’t know. As for my mother, I talk to her every single day and we still always have something to talk about. I just love being around her and talking about everything.

  • Where is your writing place?

Believe it or not, my writing place is always in my room at my desk. I rarely ever get inspired anywhere else. My little corner is my inspiration station!

  • Describe your writing process.

My writing process is somewhat all over the place, but I have a notebook with my notes in it. I look through the notes, start writing what’s on my mind and just let my fingers keep moving. I’ll go through and edit here and there, but I’m a perfectionist so I usually fix the errors right away. It doesn’t take much for me to just keep writing. I usually always have music playing, but I focus a lot better when I have my headphones rather the music just playing through my blue tooth speaker. My writing process is boring and not fancy at all, but it works for me.

  • If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Easy. I would get rid of the social anxiety. I know this is against the “rules,” but another thing: I’d go back in time and stand up for myself against the people that bullied me.

  • Who are five bloggers/writers that inspire you?

Ooh, five? This one is difficult.

  1. Matt Haig. He’s my favorite author and a fellow mental health advocate. I love his writing style and how transparent and vulnerable he is in his writing about his own struggles with depression and anxiety.
  2. Jarrid Wilson. He was a pastor and writer that was also a fellow mental health advocate. He recently died by suicide, which was so incredibly rough to hear about since he was such an incredible advocate for people struggling with depression.
  3. Jamie Tworkowski. He founded one of my favorite mental health organizations, To Write Love On Her Arms. He’s such an incredible writer. He’s open, honest, and compassionate in his writing.
  4. Lindsey Hall. She’s a writer of a blog called I Haven’t Shaved In 6 Days. I just recently discovered her and I love her writing style, but also how honest she is.
  5. Kati Morton. She is a writer and licensed therapist. Her book Are U Ok? was so helpful for me, even when I had known about a good bit about the stuff she was writing at the time I read the book (It’s hard to be in therapy and a psychology major and not learn a crap ton of stuff). She’s also a YouTuber who is one of two YouTubers I still actively watch.

That’s all the questions! Thank you for submitting questions and/or reading!

Ali Vee

 

Just another cheesy post…

I was sitting at my desk today and was just thinking to myself while I mindlessly changed tabs… I have had a productive day today despite waking up in a terrible mood, pretty sure I was close to a mental breakdown, and really just wanting to throw myself a pity party. Last week, I had a horrific day; depressed, even harmful thoughts… I pulled myself out of it. Today, I pulled myself out of it.

I’ve been working my tail off in therapy, trying hard to make steps forward instead of steps backward. I’m working through my thoughts, through my depression, anxiety, OCD… but I still have my bad days. The difference between now and even just five years ago is that I am able to focus on getting out of that funk, that depression. I have a way to go with the anxiety, but I can tell I’m making progress and so can my therapist.

If you had asked me five years ago if I could pull myself out of a depressive episode and continue to fight and not give in to the harmful thoughts, I would have looked at you funny and probably laughed. I’ve also learned in therapy that it’s perfectly okay to be proud of myself and that it’s not selfish to be proud of myself like I always thought it was. Honestly, it feels weird…

My point is this: keep fighting. Yeah, I know I say that a lot. But if I had given in to those harmful thoughts last week, I would be back to square one. And guess what? I didn’t and I’m not back at square one. I had a horrific day, but I’m here. I’m alive. I’m not in any extra amount of pain.

I think you can do it too. I know you can do it too. Fighting this battle with depression is difficult, but I finally realize that it’s worth it.

I know it’s way more easy to say it than do it, but once you realize you can do it, and honestly you’ve done it before, then you can do anything you put your mind to.

I realize all of this sounds super cheesy, but I don’t care. I believe in myself now, especially after last week, and I believe in you!

Ali Vee

black and white laptop
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

Answering Your Questions!

On Facebook and Twitter, I decided to ask my readers to ask me some questions and I got a great response. With those questions and a few I found floating around on the internet, I am going to start answering them! This will be a multiple part post because I’m still getting questions from readers. I’ll do 10 questions each post.

  • What would you love to learn how to do?

There’s a lot of things I would love to learn how to do. I can’t limit it to a certain number of things, because I love learning. One major thing, however, would be to learn how to better socialize with people.

  • What are your favorite books?

My favorite book would definitely have to be Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. The other four favorites would be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty (I love her writing style, and she’s really made me respect the different cultures when it comes to dealing with their deceased loved ones), and Supermarket by Bobby Hall (aka Logic, the rapper).

  • What is your motto for life?

I have quite a few actually, but the main one is Stay Strong. I have it tattooed on my wrists for a reason! On a more silly side, I love the quote from my all time favorite television show, Parks and Recreation: “I stand by my decision to avoid salads and other disgusting things.” Ah that Leslie Knope is a wise one.

  • What is the next vacation you’d love to take?

You don’t know how many vacations I have planned in my head, ha! I have a couple planned to visit friends in south Louisiana and Texas and I plan to do some hiking while I’m there. The big vacation I’m saving up for is a trip to Los Angeles! My dad grew up in LA, so I have family there that I want to visit, and I’m an LA Kings, Angels, and Clippers fan so I’d love to see them. Hollywood sign, all that cool stuff.

  • What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

Oh, this one is easy. My dog, Finn, is easily the best gift I’ve ever received. I got him for Christmas in 2016, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He’s my therapy dog, too. He was supposed to be my service dog, but he’s too friendly and wants to greet everyone and say hello and service dogs can’t do that; they have to stay focused. Haha. He’s my best boy and I joke with my parents all the time that they’ll never top that gift in the coming years!

  • What is your favorite memory?

While I talk about bad memories of being bullied, I have good memories too! Hanging out with my best friends, making comedy videos, travelling across the country… it was all so much fun. Travelling to Japan with my mom was pretty amazing as well. I got to visit my sister, brother in law, and nieces while we were there and hanging out with them while sightseeing was really an unforgettable experience!

  • What are the top things you’ve learned over the past year?

I’ve learned a lot in the past year. The top things would have to be to listen to my gut and don’t disregard the red flags about someone. I’ve known that since I was a child, but the past year I got slapped in the face with it. I have trust issues, so I need to continue to listen to my gut rather than wanting to give people multiple chances only to be let down time and time again.

  • What is your dream job?

I’d love to work in the criminology field. I love the psychology behind crimes and criminals, so after 27 years I found that it is what I need to work for in college!

  • What is on your bucket list?

So. Many. Things. I am almost 29 years old and I feel like I haven’t done even 10% of the things on my bucket list, so I’m working on it. Travelling the world, trying new foods, health related things, etc. My main item is to truly inspire someone, so I’m hoping I can do that for someone.

  • What are your go-to phone apps?

I admit I am on my phone too much! My go to apps are Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and the camera app!

 

Thank you for the questions! I’ll answer ten more in another post soon!

Ali Vee

 

 

World Suicide Prevention Day

I should have died 5 years ago, but it was like an actual hand pulled the gun away from my head and a voice told me to call my mom. And life got better. It didn’t get perfect, and sometimes it doesn’t feel easier. But I promise you, it’s worth it. You’re worth it.

Stay alive for me. Stay alive for your pets, your parents, your siblings, your job, whatever it is. But most of all, Stay Alive for yourself. Give yourself the chance to experience new things. You are loved and you are worth taking up space in this world.

I never thought I’d ever be able to go to college. People (mostly classmates/bullies) always told me I was stupid because I didn’t talk until the 8th grade. They told me I’d never be able to do certain things because I didn’t talk. They told me I was ugly, stupid, mute, castoff… Teachers didn’t want to help because I was too much work, guidance counselors sent me to the school nurse and even therapists, doctors said “well she just needs to talk.” I had a teacher even send me to the principal’s office because I was too terrified to answer her question in front of the class.

I wasn’t supposed to be happy. That’s what everyone wanted. They enjoyed seeing me fail because it made them look better. It made them feel better when I would cry in front of the class. I caused people frustration, people took offense, they called me “their special project” and didn’t mean it in a good way…

I’ll be 29 in less than a month. Do you think I thought I’d ever make it to 29? I didn’t think I’d make it to 20, and I sure as hell didn’t think I’d make it to 25.

I’m a junior in college. I’ll be a senior in April, and I’ll be done with my Bachelor’s degree program in November 2020. I’m proving so many people wrong and I have no plans to stop.

Yeah I’m in therapy every week, I’ve been to a mental institution a couple times, so what? It helps me. Those things helped make me strong and I live now for myself. For my dog. For those drives in my Jeep. For the day I can say I graduated college and made my parents proud.

And that is why I continue to fight.

Don’t give up hope. The battles you’re fighting today will make you stronger in the future.

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay

Fear Is Complex

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I have struggled with fear my entire life. I’ve let it consume me. I’ve let it eat me alive. I’ve let it control me. I’m scared of my fear. I’m fearful of my fear. It’s redundancy that is another fear of mine, and there I go again.

I’m scared of doing the same thing over and over and over again, but I’m also scared of change. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

The thing is, fear is complex. I think everybody has their own definition of what fear is because each person might be afraid of a totally different thing than the person sitting next to them. For instance, I am afraid of people. I am. I am afraid that someone will hurt me – physically or even mentally. I was never beaten by my parents, but when I was in school, I was physically bullied alongside the harsh words those people would say to me. It’s stuck with me ever since, I guess. I don’t like to be touched at all by someone I don’t know, but especially men. I can honestly say that men terrify me.

This blog is an open book for me. I don’t go around telling random people that I don’t trust people to the point of a “no touching” rule. Especially about the “no touching” rule around men. Because of this fear, I am asexual. I have no desire in the world to ever be touched by anyone, ever.

I have a fear of the dark. I have a fear of driving at night. I have a fear of going to the store (or anywhere) alone. Ah, social anxiety. The thing that has followed me since childhood.

I have a fear of being left alone. I have a fear of talking to strangers. I have a lot of fears. Irrational fears and rational fears… I also have a fear of snakes. I consider that to be normal since a lot of people are also afraid of snakes.

My point is, why do I let these irrational fears consume me? I am constantly losing friends because I’m afraid to hang out with them or even afraid to communicate because I might say the wrong thing or that they’re mad at me or think I’m “crazy.” Ugh, I hate the word crazy. H A T E it.

I would define fear as dread, fear of the unknown, fear of the thing you know but are trying desperately to un-know, fear of someone else, and helplessness. Fear is that sense of anxiety when you realize your failure is impending if you don’t or can’t move quickly enough.

How do you define fear? I’m curious to know how different we are, the differences in fears.

Ali Vee

We Have To Put An End To These Mass Shootings…

Trigger warning… stay safe, friends.

We absolutely have to. Innocent people are dying because of mass shootings, more in the United States than anywhere else, because we’re simply not doing anything about it.

Are guns the issue? Yes. But do I believe mental health is more of the issue? Yes.

It’s so difficult to find a therapist and/or psychiatrist anywhere you go and if you do find one, they charge an arm and a leg.

It’s beyond time to fix this.

Get people the help they need.

Stop spreading the stigma surrounding mental health because YOU are making it worse.

YOU are making people feel ashamed of getting and asking for help.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, my friends. Normal, stable people don’t go around making plans to kill innocent people in public places where they should feel safe.

Those murderers are/were mentally ill.

The thing that gets me is that someone can be mentally ill, and people look down on them for that, which by the way is something they may not even be able to control. Then when that person asks for help, they get called crazy, they belong in the “looney bin” etc.

Someone is addicted to drugs, and they are looked down upon, and if they decide to detox, they get called crazy and a “crazy addict.”

The stigma that you’re spreading is making people feel like it is looked down upon to get help. They feel like they are worthless for going to a mental institution or going to therapy. They feel ashamed. They feel worthless. And that’s the opposite of how they should feel.

They should feel proud for asking for help. They should feel proud for starting to take control of their issue, whatever it may be.

People that don’t get the help they need turn to more extreme ways to deal with their pain; murder, in this instance.

Mental health is what we need to be talking about. As much as gun control sounds like the issue that needs to be addressed (and in some ways, it is), we have to focus on mental health as well.

The country as a whole is shoving it off to the side. Mental health only matters on certain days of the year, then the very next day nobody cares about it anymore.

Stop shoving it off to the side. Talk about mental health. Stop making people feel worthless for having to go to therapy. There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy!!

Be open. Share your story. You might be saving someone’s life. Stop condemning people for going to therapy.

That family member or friend that refuses to go to therapy? Talk with them. Don’t give up on them, and more importantly, do your best to keep an eye on them. They may be needing and wanting to ask for help, but they’re too ashamed to.

We have to do better, my friends.

Depression is real. Mental illness is real. Addiction is real (and is a disease, by the way).

If you’ve never experienced it, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you should talk down to people who battle with it daily.

To those in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. You’re in my thoughts and prayers tonight.

Stay strong.