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Daily Struggles Only People Who Live With Mental Illness Would Understand

Daily Struggles Only People Who Live With Mental Illness Would Understand

Although 1 in 4 Americans suffers from some sort of mental illness, the stigma associated with mental illnesses prevents many from seeking treatment or confiding in friends and family. To help lessen and eliminate the stigma, Project 1 in 4 aspires to raise awareness and inspire sufferers of mental illnesses. The eleven cartoons below illustrate with some humor familiar struggles and chagrins of a variety of mental illnesses from mania to bipolar disorder to depression. Mental illness can hurt and be scary, but how we think about this does not have to be so unapproachable. The cartoons aren’t intended to make light of mental illness, but to make it easier to talk about it.

Here are 11 of the 51 cartoons so far.

1. Sometimes you can feel so good you can convince yourself that your mental illness is behind you. But what you, your family, and your friends find out soon enough is that it was literally behind you, waiting for an opportunity to take control.

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always behind me waiting

    2. When your mental illness takes over, you do and say things that in your right mind you would not risk doing otherwise. This can feel scary or incredibly liberating.

    antics

      3. There may be days you feel invincible and convinced that you can do anything you think of doing. The impossible seems possible.

      delusions 2

        4. Even with all the evidence of a wrecked life in front of you, you may still be convinced that you don’t need help or that accepting help is a defeat.

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        no help please

          5. You may seem flighty or unfocused or ditzy and it may seem like you can’t finish what you started, but it’s actually because you have too many thoughts competing for supremacy. You can be smart and capable, but your mental illness trips you at the starting line or the finishing line.

          racing thoughts

            6. You are exhausted from all the thinking, all the emotions, or the medications, so you are too tired to enjoy social gatherings. Just getting together can, too, be exhausting if it means pretending everything is all right for everyone.

            scrambled

              7. Whether it is the medication or the mental illness, sleep deprivation can be a constant aggravation. You can get short tempered or forgetful or ill because you can’t get the sleep you need desperately.

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              sleepless

                8. You might think the odds are in your favor even when they obviously are not. You may see that starving yourself is hurting your health, that staying up night after night is ultimately bad for you, or that having a gun in the home is risky, but your mental illness is louder and shouts everyone else’s advice down.

                TRICKS

                  9. Your friends like you when you are happy and charming, so when you suddenly become mean spirited or depressing, they get frustrated and might just say you are a jerk. You lose friends because they don’t know what to expect from you and don’t like your quick personality and mood changes.

                  QUICK CHANGE ARTIST

                    10. Sure, everyone sees things differently, but you see things that are not even there. Large insects climb the walls of your clean apartment, the cracks on the sidewalk open up to be chasms. Your wife of 35 years is suddenly the serial killer you saw on the news the night before.

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                    Delusions

                      11. With public awareness increasing and the stigma lessening, reaching out to others and getting the support from family and friends you need becomes easier each day.

                      POSITIVE TAKE AWAY

                        For 100 days, the organizers of Project 1 in 4 will present pictures from their Instagram account, so you can follow along daily, share, and show support. Their hope and desire is that the awareness spread by these approachable, accessible, and simple cartoons will ultimately lessen the stigma of mental illness. So reach out and show some well-mannered love and make supportive comments after taking the time to educate yourself on the pervasiveness of mental illness. No one should feel alone or that they don’t deserve support.

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                        Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                        8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                        8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                        In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                        Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                        Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                        Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                        Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                        The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                        There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                        How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                        According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                        Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                        Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                        The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                        Listen carefully:

                        We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                        The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                        Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                        8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                        There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                        Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                        1. Pray Daily

                        You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                        When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                        Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                        Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                        2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                        A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                        By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                        Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                        If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                        This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                        How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                        3. Smile Often

                        Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                        Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                        Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                        The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                        4. Organize Your Working Desk

                        A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                        When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                        Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                        Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                        5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                        I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                        Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                        What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                        6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                        God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                        I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                        I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                        7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                        You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                        How do you do that? This is my formula:

                        First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                        If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                        If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                        If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                        Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                        8. Go Exercise

                        Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                        The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                        You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                        12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                        The Bottom Line

                        It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                        It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                        Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                        More Resources About Mindfulness

                        Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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