NICOLE THOMAS Staff Writer
1. You aren’t alone: People with mental illnesses may feel like they are alone or like they’re different from everybody else because of their illness. I know from personal experience that there have been times where I wish I could have been “normal” and not have to obsess over things due to my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, it’s important to know that there are lots of people who have a mental illness. Even if somebody doesn’t have a mental illness, chances are they may know someone who has one so they can understand to some degree.
2. Your mental illness does not define you: A mental illness does not define somebody as a person. It’s just a small characteristic of the person. Having a mental illness or disability does not make a person less smart or less capable than anybody else. The person may have to work harder or have a difficult time with their emotions, but they are still capable of achieving a lot in his or her life.
3. People care about you: It’s important to reach out for help. There are so many people who are supportive towards others who have mental illnesses. It’s important to help others and be kind to someone, especially when their mental illness is acting up. For me, it has made my life so much better when I confide in my friends and have their support.
4. It’s good to get professional help: It is extremely important for people with mental illnesses to get professional help. This can be from a psychiatrist, counselor or both. Psychiatrists can prescribe medicine to people with mental illnesses. Although the symptoms won’t completely go away with medication, the symptoms may be less severe. Counselors can also be very helpful.
5. You are worthy of help: People with mental illnesses are worthy of help they get. People should never be ashamed of getting help. It’s important to get help as early as possible, especially if you are struggling.
6. You are stronger than your mental illness: When a person’s dealing with a mental illness, they may feel hopeless or defeated. It’s important for people to know that they are stronger than their mental illness. There are so many good qualities about that person, and they should know that there is hope.
7. You can get through this: People who have mental illnesses to know that they can achieve a lot in life even when their mental illness is acting up. Having a mental illness can make life a struggle, but they can get through it. The struggles that they face may make them stronger as a person because they have the ability to learn over time how to conquer their struggles.
8. You are worthy of happiness: Even if they do not feel happy all the time, people with mental illnesses should know that it is possible to feel happy again by doing the things that work for them.
9. Do what makes you happy: Find a hobby that makes you happy. Preferably, find a hobby that makes you stress less and boosts your self-esteem. This can be playing a sport, writing, singing, participating in theater, creating artwork and the list goes on. Also surround yourself with your friends who bring out your joy. They care about you and being around them can help make you feel better.
10. It’s so important to take care of yourself: It’s vital for people with mental illnesses to take care of themselves. It can be hard to do things that make you feel better when you are depressed or overly anxious, but the only way to feel better is by doing things to take care of yourself. As stated before, people with mental illnesses can feel better by taking medicine prescribed by a doctor, receiving counseling, being surrounded by friends and loved ones or finding a hobby.