Check out these cartoons of mental illnesses created by U.K.-based artist Toby Allen. He decided to draw different mental illnesses as monsters, as a way of helping himself and ultimately others. Check out the article I found on Huffington Post as well as his Real Monsters series.
Category Archives: Anxiety
He felt such hopelessness in life, all he could do was jump.
She felt such disassociation, all she could do was cut.
Reality was harsher, than this living hell,
they lived inside their heads. No one could ever tell.
The night harpies of terror, claw her hair each night
When she pulls the covers up around her, shaking from the fright.
The flashbacks and the memories, of her broken bones
Break her hope and will to live, she wants to just be gone.
Away from all the pain, the hurt, the emptiness.
He tries to run, he tries to end the dread,
of living in a quagmire, he tries to choke it from his head.
Wishing it was just a shell that he could peel away and shed.
See, you’re not alone in this, no you’ll never be.
There’s just too much that’s going on for you to ever see,
that others survive, through the same unending pain.
Come in, we’ll hold you dear, we’ll help you feel again.
Today’s guest blogger is Matthew Malin of Confessions. Without taking too much away from his intro below, he and I both survive with depression. Matthew submitted his guest post and since I hadn’t connected with him before, I wanted to peruse his site to get an understanding for his content. Matthew’s site is well laid out and I love that he has his topics broken down into different “Confessions”, which include-
♦ confessions for the hurting, lonely, and confused
♦ confessions on love
♦ confessions on reflection, and
♦ confessions through poetry
Again, if you haven’t read his short story, A Sheep Named Wolf, give it a read. It’s an excellent moral tale of humankind.
I encourage you to not only read this post and drop him a line in the Comments section, but to visit his site and do the same. You will fall in love with his smooth writing and his music videos that reach in to the core of your heart and pull out the words that you were struggling to speak.
If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on surviving the specter, please check out the tab at the top of my home page and send me an email with your ideas.
And now. Enjoy Matthew’s post!
* * *
Hello to you! My name is Matthew and I am twenty-two years of age. I am a musician, writer, and currently a senior in College studying to be a Pastor/Church-Planter. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for four years now and the aim of my blog is to bring awareness to the subject. I also write daily updates, poetry, and thoughts on life, loneliness, and love. You can find my blog at: mbm1992.wordpress.com
Sticks and stones may break my bones…
It is honestly a baffling manner trying to encourage and/or motivate someone out of depression. I don’t say that out of disrespect towards anyone who is struggling (I, myself, have dealt with this issue on many occasions) but it is the honest truth. The fact is that there are no amount of words that you or I could ever say that would bring someone out of their hopelessness.
It’s just not going to happen.
I have often thought, wondered, and even been asked how one is to cope/help/stir someone who is so lost in their own sorrow. People simply want to know how they can best help their loved one or friend escape from the clutches of their perceived “lostness”. Automatically, one is motivated to speak. An abundance of words would, to most people, be of great use in motivating the depressed to action. My only question is this…How do you, an outside source with no earthly idea the extent of their pain, motivate those who cannot motivate themselves…with words?
Can I be honest in saying that it is highly likely that words were the catalyst to their current state? I mean sure, actions speak far louder than words but language is what affirms the motivation behind the giver. Words add validity to what they are already thinking. Speaking from experience I know that I was never in need of someone to come along and tell me that I shouldn’t feel the way I do (I already knew that). I was never in need of someone to tell me that as a Christian I should be happier because God was in my life (I already knew that). See, I already knew the logical answers. I was fully aware of what I should’ve been feeling, thinking, and doing but my awareness never once deterred my feelings.
It is in these moments that two things must happen.
1.) The afflicted soul must come to grips with the reality that what they are feeling and/or experiencing is nine times out of ten irrational and that’s ok. In order to best move forward we have to know where to start.
2.) The motivational coach of the situation has to realize that they are practically useless here. I don’t mean that rudely or as an encouragement to do nothing but I simply say that they cannot approach this situation thinking that they are superman. The worst mistake someone can make is thinking that they have all of the answers….Simply put, you don’t and there’s a reason…You haven’t taken the time to try and understand where we are coming from.
Talk is cheap but a listening ear is richer than gold to those who are without hope.
My constant advice to those who are wondering and to myself is this: Listen before you speak. Take the time to try and best understand the circumstance of the other individual, why they are feeling the way they do, and be extremely slow to give practical advice. Odds are, they already know what you’re going to say. The best way for a sad soul to heal is to know why they feel the way that they do. They cannot do such a thing if no one gives them a chance to express it.
But words will always hurt me
Again, a HUGE thank you for taking your time to write this, Matthew! If you’d like to drop Matthew a line, please do so in the Comments section here or on his site. I know he’d love to hear from you.
Matthew Malin will be my guest blogger this Friday night about 8:30 eastern time (U.S.)
Without taking too much away from his intro on Friday, he and I both survive with depression.
If you would like a great read and example of his writing, check out his short story, A Sheep Named Wolf. It’s an excellent moral tale of humankind.
Don’t forget to join us on Friday as Matthew talks about his experiences with depression and anxiety!
Reblog this to someone who may need to hear it today.
Let’s reach out to our friends who are hurting.
He took a little piece of him,
and placed it in my hand
I was hurting, sad, and broken,
and I couldn’t understand
Why he gave so selflessly,
and cared to share a part
Of him so free and graciously,
a portion of his heart
Today’s guest blogger is Paul Falcone of wemustbebroken.com. Paul and I are a lot alike. We’ve both lived with depression since we were about 13. We are both musicians. And we both enjoy blogging about our depression. Though Paul is 21 and I am 41, I feel like we’ve been friends for some time. We met through blogging and I’ve looked to Paul and his words for inspiration, as well as to see how other men live with their depression. Paul is truly a loving servant of mankind and a kind soul. I encourage you to not only read this post and drop him a line in the Comments section, but to visit his site and do the same. You will fall in love with his smooth writing and his music videos that reach in to the core of your heart and pull out the words that you were struggling to speak.
If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on surviving the specter, please check out the tab at the top of my home page and send me an email with your ideas.
And now. Enjoy Paul’s post!
Tragedy can often leave the strongest people on their knees, resulting in desperate attempts to do something, anything, to make whatever pain they’re feeling go away. Even if it’s temporary. Some of these things however, can be destructive. They can develop habits that walk next to them for the rest of their life.
Have you ever lost someone who you loved?
How far did you go to numb that pain?
If you’re one of the people who has experienced this already, can you remember what that felt like? The complete loss of care or self worth, filled with sadness, grief, maybe even anger? And at the time there’s nothing anyone can really say to help or make those feelings go away. It’s something that takes time. But in time you learn to live with the fact that they are gone, and you do little things to remember them by. To carry their legacy, you move forward.
Now, imagine feeling that kind of helplessness a little more regularly. I won’t go as far to say that depression feels like the loss of a loved one, but I mean it when I say at times it does. It feels like a piece of you is missing. And when that feeling of helplessness and grief continues for extensive periods of time people can begin to seek means of numbing themselves. Drugs and alcohol probably come to mind first. But there are so many others that sometimes aren’t even realized. Sex, binge eating, and extensive use of finances and materialistic things can all be methods in which people cope to numb feelings they have (or feelings they don’t have, apathy is also all too common).
But why am I writing this?
Because I suffer from depression and anxiety.
Often times I’m asked what it feels like when the depression hits. Is it just sadness? Do you just want to isolate yourself and be alone? I mean yes, it is. But theres so much more. It feels like there’s a hand inside of my head that is pulling on the back of both of my eyes, slowly encasing me in myself. It makes you feel like you want to cry, but for me, no tears ever come. It’s like there’s a black hole sitting in the middle of my chest that is sucking any little bit of life that I have out of me. From the tips of my fingers to the bottom of my feet, I feel everything start to retract. And I go numb. It can happen when I’m in a room full of laughing people who I could consider my best friends. And out of no where it’ll hit me like a truck. And often times all I can do is watch as the truck approaches, caught like a deer in the headlights. I’ll start to slip. And my mind feels heavy with pressure as doubts flood in and I start to question even the most concrete parts of my life.
Am I actually a good friend?
Does my girlfriend actually like me?
Have I let my family down?
Now multiply this times a hundred and you get a lot of sleepless nights. I shut down. I often joke around that I feel like a robot. Programmed to go through the motions and react to things a certain way but I stopped feeling genuine. Especially when I was in those droughts when the depression was harder. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed this being a part of me, but I can one hundred percent say that I’m on the path to accepting that this is part of me, and that’s okay.
When it comes to coping personally, I have a few methods I have tried and integrated into my life over the years. The biggest thing for me is to exercise myself creatively. Writing is one of the biggest ways to help me feel better. Getting my thoughts down on paper can really help me see two things.
1.) This is what’s going on in my head. It’s all sorted out now. It’s not so bad.
2.) These thoughts are really irrational and I just didn’t realize it until I put it down on paper.
I know I’m good to my family. And I know I have a girlfriend who really cares about me. But those thoughts do pop in my head. No matter how irrational they may be. That’s what depression does. It tells you that you can’t instead of you can and that things aren’t working when they are.
Apart from writing, music helps me a lot too. Over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve been writing music and a part of several bands. Putting out two cd’s in the process. Those cd’s actually became the titles for my blog, Dear Hope and We Must Be Broken. Both albums cover a lot of personal struggles with identity and depression, and the music was a creative way for me to outlet a lot of what I was feeling in a healthy way. Lyrics, poems, stories and music all became a way for me to put my emotions somewhere, and it’s helped me extensively.
Also, besides exercising my creativity, exercising in general tends to help me out a lot too. Which is unfortunate, because when I’m depressed this is something that can be extremely hard to do. It’s hard enough to get out of bed sometimes, let alone go for a run or start lifting. But here’s me being honest with myself for a second. I feel better when I’m being active. Even if it’s just a short run to clear my mind. I used to be an athlete all throughout high school and was in really good shape (not the case anymore) so sometimes I feel like I’m never going to reach that point again. I probably won’t honestly, but I need to look at it as something that’s going to make me feel good. Even if I’m not into the full hardcore fitness anymore. Exerting those emotions and sadness into a physical burning when you’re working out can help extinguish some of those heavy feelings.
And as hard as it is to do sometimes. Being around people is often the best cure. Having a strong support group is something that I have been blessed with and believe me when I say there are days I want to stay in my room with the lights off and have no one talk to me. I want to isolate myself and just stay in the sadness. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It has become something I’ve gotten so used to that I just accept it sometimes without trying to fight. But on the occasions I do, and force myself around friends and laughter, sometimes I can snap myself out of it.
These are the positive ways in which I cope. But I have had my share of negatives. There was a cutting incident when I was thirteen back when I had less of a grip on what depression was and what I was feeling that I regret. I think it was more a call for help than anything else. I try my best to stay away from drugs and alcohol or binging on either. I try and live life without a crutch, and I want to be able to say that I can be comfortable with who I am before doing something to numb me. But again, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t drank to numb before. A last one is food. Food is always my weakness. In fact, it’s one of the only senses I can still feel when I’m depressed. Often I’m reduced to an apathetic state and taste is the only thing that still works. So I eat. And eat. And eat. What can I say, I love food. Even when I’m not depressed. But I do realize how unhealthy this is. And I’m trying to be better with it. And I think that’s the important thing to remember. Be aware of your pain, and be aware of how you cope. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to care if the choice is a negative or positive one, but when you keep it in the back of your head you get stronger everyday. I fight almost daily still, but I’m getting better.
I know I am.
And you can too.
Always remember you are not alone. And you are loved.
Again, thank you for taking your time to write this, Paul! If you’d like to drop Paul a line, please do so in the Comments section here or on his site. I know he’d love to hear from you.
How do you relate to the people in your life with PTSD?
This post is part of a series of poems dedicated to my girlfriend. She has PTSD and severe anxiety and you will understand her story with each post. Each time I learn something about the mental conditions she lives with, I add a “part” to the series. Please read the previous verses. Each can be found at these links – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.
Running on Empty-
Heading towards “E”, one mile at a time,
The rubber is melting the road.
With her foot to the floor, and the gauge in the red,
She races to unburden her load.
The wraiths of panic, pursue her in flight,
Their talons are shredding her gown.
The harpies of terror, claw at her hair,
Knocking her down to the ground.
In panic she runs, through her forested mind,
Past triggers, closing too quick.
She can’t get away, not this time,
She’s stuck in the labyrinth; the crypt.
The branches slash, the thorns rape her skin,
And the rocks they bloody her feet.
She’s almost on empty, the tank’s almost bare,
She’s crumbling in fright and defeat.
And I catch up to her, pulling her close,
So she stops, and she looks up at me.
“I can’t do this. I won’t, and I quit.”
“Let me go. I just want to leave.”
And I let her crumble, and the tunnel opens up,
She’s so exhausted, and broke.
But she’s made it again, through the anxiety,
Such a spirit of resiliency and hope.