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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 21, 2020

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                          Why You Need a Vision

                          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                          How to Create Your Life Vision

                          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                          What Do You Want?

                          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                          Some tips to guide you:

                          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                          • Give yourself permission to dream.
                          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                          Some questions to start your exploration:

                          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                          • What qualities would you like to develop?
                          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                          • What would you most like to accomplish?
                          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                          A few prompts to get you started:

                          • What will you have accomplished already?
                          • How will you feel about yourself?
                          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                          • What does your ideal day look like?
                          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                          • What would you be doing?
                          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                          • How are you dressed?
                          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                          Plan Backwards

                          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                          • What important actions would you have had to take?
                          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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