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Thursday, January 19, 2017

What You'll See When You Look At Me - A Mentally Ill Person

We see a lot of stories and articles that tell you what it feels like to be the mentally ill person, or how to help them, or what getting help looks like - but here is what I am like when you really know me. I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Personality Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. The NOS diagnoses mean that, while I am on that spectrum, and display the symptoms of some of the disorders inside them - I don't fit a particular diagnosis. The symptoms I display are a bit... well, odd. But, I am not really abnormal for mental health patients. At least, that's how my psych puts it. This is what you will see if you ever find yourself living with me.

1. I watch funny videos, a lot.
I am obsessed with laughing and finding sunshine in my world. When you spend a lot of time around me, you're gonna see a lot of giggling and interwebbing. It's just how I am. I'm often too exhausted/depressed/anxious to get out of bed, so I spend a lot of the time I am at least awake, finding things that put a smile on my face and a good thing in my day.

2. I am actually pretty friendly.
I don't make friends easily. A part of being depressed and anxious most of the time is that making new friendships happen can be impossible. Those who are close to me know that I am actually a really friendly person. Making good times happen when my loved ones spend time with me - that is a favorite pastime of mine. Things like good movies, fun music, stories, bonfires in the front yard, reading books to each other; those are what makes my life good.

3. I eat like a person - when I do eat.
Pizza, cookies, cake, veggies, different meats, those are all things I enjoy. There have been a few people that, once hearing of my being mentally ill and developmentally delayed, think that I eat some incredibly different diet. They seem to not know what to get when getting snacks for a hang-out where I will be involved. Making it even worse: it surprises them when I enjoy normal foods.

4. I am passionate.
This is the thing that confuses me the most is when people assume that - because I am depressed - I cannot be passionate about things. I am fiercely passionate about a few things, music, writing, activism, and homeless rights advocacy are among my greatest passions.

Overall, hanging out or living with me, you will find someone who laughs at what is funny, loves the people in her life, eats normal food, and likes to do things. My depression simply causes me to really struggle to do all of these things anywhere but in my bed - and sometimes not even then. It's true, I will get broody and sullen - a lot - and I am not always able to engage with people. But, please, stop assuming that just because I am depressed and anxious that you won't ever see the shavings of a somewhat normal person in me.

There's a real person in here, and it hurts when I am only seen for my bad days.

Peace, Love, and Bulletproof Marshmallows
Mandey T

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