If You Are Burdened…

I loved my Kate Spade handbag.

It was practical and stylish, two words common to describing her designs. I was lucky — I got it half-off, something the snide sales person had no problem disdainfully pointing out when I paid for it (a story for another day). Never mind him. I had my Kate Spade handbag.

I carried it for years, until the wear and tear made it too embarassing to use any more. That’s my sole connection to Kate Spade. But when I heard about her death today, I was moved to tears. The story is coming out that she committed suicide, and that breaks my heart.

A friend who was at one time suicidal described to me what she felt in this way:

“It was like there was weight on my body, an outside pressure that made it hard to breathe. All the sorrow and pain I’d felt in my life was trapped inside of me. The only thing I wanted to do was break away from it, and death seemed like the only option.”

She made a phone call and followed the advice of a professional. Later she had to work her way through the physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Today she tells me she no longer struggles with those feelings and their burden, but it took her some time to deal with the issues that caused them, including physiological factors.

I am not a professional, nor in any way am I trained to advise someone who is feeling suicidal. If you are suffering with those feelings, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.


Image Credit: ©eyetronic – stock.adobe.com

 

Muddled and Down

For some time now, I’ve been depressed. Not serious, suicidal-type depression, but a low-level unhappiness that has manifested itself in several unhealthy ways.

The most obvious is the stress eating. I hate to say it, but chowing down a share-size bag of Peanut M&Ms is satisfying (share-size, my butt). It makes me feel better. The problem is, I can’t eat like I used to without gaining weight. I’m finding it more and more difficult to fit into the clothes that used to flatter me so.

It’s not that I’ve gained a ton of weight. I’m about eight pounds heavier than I want to be, although truth to tell, eight extra pounds on me somehow looks like twenty extra pounds on your average woman. I guess I gain it in my face and tummy first, which gives one the appearance of bulk. Extra, unsightly bulk.

I’m working on changing this, everything from using the ladies’ room on the far end of the building to (yes) cutting down on the M&Ms. I’d like to cut them out completely, but I’m afraid my eventual response to that kind of deprivation would be binge eating.

My depression hasn’t stopped me from pursuing goals, but it’s slowed down things like writing for and participating in blogging. I don’t see glorious hope in the future. I don’t deny the problem; I’ve dealt with serious depression before. I have to wonder about all the people out there suffering from the same thing, whose lives are muddled by vague thoughts such as, “if I died today, no big deal.” Perhaps they don’t know it’s depression, it’s an illness, it can be treated.

Depression can be circumstantial, but it isn’t always. For me, circumstances are getting better, but I’m still down. I’m getting help, I’m taking steps to change.

But the struggle continues.


If you face these same problems, please seek help from a licensed professional. It isn’t something that can be helped by motivational speeches or a determination to push through the sadness. While these are difficult times in the world without sound leadership, that’s not the problem, either. There is hope, even though believing that may have to be an intellectual exercise for the time being. 

Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Confusion

Dealing with mental illness…tricky. And let me say here, I’m no expert. All of the information I’ve gathered below comes from my own research, both print and interviews of professionals. It is for general information only, is a bit simplistic, and should not be considered absolute.

AdobeStock_112894681 [Converted]Hopefully, however, it can lay a foundation of understanding.

It helps to understand just what mental health is, and how it differs from emotional health. Mental health is how your brain functions; processing information, forming opinions, making decisions, and using logic are all a part of mental health.

Emotional health is expressing your emotions in a manner appropriate to your age and other factors. Your mental health affects your emotional health when, for example, you’re too tired or stressed to properly assess a situation.

Now we get to mental illness. A mental illness is a recognized, medically diagnosable illness that affects one’s mental health. These illnesses can result from biological, developmental and/or psychosocial factors and can be managed in a manner similar to physical diseases (e.g. medications).

AdobeStock_100009763 [Converted] c geosapThere is a fuzzy area of poor mental well-being (this is not a medical term, just a convenient one) that perhaps is not medically a mental illness, but may still be treated with medication or other methods used for mental illness. This does not necessarily have an identified biological or physiological foundation, but is disruptive to one’s life.

Now someone with a mental illness can have good mental health. Why? Because some mental illnesses are episodic, or because they are under control with proper treatment. The people with the best mental health, in fact, arguably could be those who’ve faced serious issues with it and overcome them.

Not that the battle is ever fully won, as many mental illnesses are chronic. Treatment may need to be adjusted periodically for a number of reasons, for example, the effectiveness of medication is lessened with use, the medication develops undesirable side effects, or other factors not yet fully understood.

AdobeStock_118183105 [Converted]In all likelihood you know people dealing with mental illness, whether you can identify them or not.

If you think you might have a mental illness, see a professional for thorough testing. If you think you may be having problems such as depression or anxiety that are not the result of mental illness, but are affecting your job, relationships and sense of self, again, see a professional. Help is available. Don’t give up.

If anyone reading this has professional information to add, please do so in the comment section and I will note it in the post. Comments from the heart are welcome, too, of course.

All images © geosap – Fotolia