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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 November 17, 2019

                        20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                        20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                        Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

                        1. Make a gift bag.

                        A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

                        2. Give a toast.

                        Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

                        3. Write a poem.

                        “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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                        4. Create your own labels.

                        There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

                        5. Give a gift card.

                        Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

                        6. Send a letter.

                        Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

                        7. Use social media to send a special message.

                        If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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                        8. Make your own digital greeting card.

                        While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

                        9. Make a YouTube video.

                        Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

                        10. Deliver cookies or candies.

                        Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

                        11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

                        There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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                        12. Put together a flower basket.

                        Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

                        13. Take a picture.

                        Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

                        14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

                        The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

                        15. Do something special for them.

                        Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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                        16. Reciprocate their help.

                        Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

                        17. Be there for them.

                        Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

                        18. Listen to them.

                        Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

                        19. Say it in another language…or two…

                        A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

                        20. Show them some love.

                        A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

                        Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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