We’ve been silent for quite some time now, but today we are excited to relaunch Lucy Out Loud! When we realized that today also marks World Mental Health Day, collectively we decided to use our first post on our updated page as an opportunity to share our voices. Mental health is a topic that can be difficult for some people to talk about, but it’s one that deserves to be discussed.
We asked members our team to share their stories, whether it be their personal struggles, how they’ve found help, or just the importance of speaking up. Please read their stories below.
Although today marks World Mental Health Day, this is not the only day that mental health should be discussed. If you are struggling, do not be afraid to speak up. There is no shame in asking for help and someone will always be willing to listen.
I can’t ever remember a time I have felt truly “okay.” There are times I feel “less socially anxious” or “more bright than dark.” But, “okay” is a concept constantly existing in the periphery – slightly out of reach. I know it’s there, but sometimes the path to it is a bit difficult to traverse.
From incessant bullying in school to depression after loss, never feeling good enough to my daily struggles with social anxiety, my brain has always buzzed in its own way. Sometimes the buzzing is a nice, manageable low hum, like a bumble bee lodged behind my ear. It reminds me it’s there but doesn’t commandeer my focus. Other times, the buzzing is loud, pulsing, and mean, like a leaf blower sending gusts full of my sanity into the ether.
In any given day, I can experience the bumble bee to the leaf blower, and every level in between. As a writer and empath, I live in my head 99.9% of the time. I take everything in and let very little out. I know what helps me manage my internal buzzing – loud music (preferably live), a good book, laughter, writing. However, the one thing that helps me more than anything else is knowing I am not alone.
My friends talk about their struggles. We share a lot of the same. We discuss coping, self-care, and we are safe spaces for each other. My favorite bands write songs that are my anthems. Their lyrics sing my story. The pain in their words helps my heart know that they’ve been there. Their voices absorb the buzzing in my head and turn it into poetry. And my world becomes a little safer, a little smaller, and I grow ever closer to seeing the “okay” light in the forest of my mind.
There’s a social aversion to discussion mental illness, and I am glad that there’s a day to bring up the awareness. I believe a lot of issues could be reduced if we properly fund mental health facilities, as well as work to remove this terrible stigma when seeking help. For many it’s a taboo. Some even think that mental health illness is a person’a fault.
I know several people who have doubts about coming forth to seek help because they are afraid of how people will treat them afterwards. In these cases social media can be a good and bad thing. There will be an outpouring of support, but with it comes a fear of judgment as well. There is a point to be made that social media generally makes one view themselves lesser because, as they say, only the “highlight reels” are shown.
But I know it can also be used to create a sense of community amongst those who feel isolated- it’s an incredibly difficult thing to come forward with. I know of someone who called a suicide prevention hotline recently but was told that no one was available at the time of the call. The person had the strength to reach out, but there weren’t any resources available. I hope days like today encourage people to help those who seek any type of support or treatment. I cannot understand why something that would prevent suicides, homelessness, crime and unemployment would ever be ignored.
With all that is happening in the world today it is awesome to be self aware, especially with your mental and emotional health. Know your limits, boundaries with yourself, there is no shame in needing a moment alone or regroup time. I’ve been a live show photographer for about 10 years, when I was younger it was a lot easier to move through crowds and be okay being submerged in a group of people. Nowadays, I can’t handle being in a sea of people squished together for hours, and it’s okay. I have figured out other ways to get the images I want and know when to push myself and when to stand back. Don’t feel discouraged, there is a lot of people who are efficient in work with depression and anxiety. What makes them successful is knowing what they can handle and working within those guidelines! It has helped over the years!
Life is like an amazing roller coaster ride with highs that make you smile ear to ear and lows that can scare you to tears. When the roller coaster ride that is my life hits those lows, I turn to music to help soothe my soul. I put my headphones on, hit repeat on my favorite Twenty One Pilots song, close my eyes and sing my heart out until tears fall down my face – and in those moments, I am okay, I am enough. However, I do know that my self-imposed moments of solitude can’t last forever and it is important to ask for help. We must always remember that is okay not to be okay (for all the Emo lovers… scream “I’m not okay…trust me!”). Today on World Mental Health Day and every day, it is important to know that you are not alone when the ride gets a little bumpy and life seems to go off track. When I feel myself heading off the rails, I find safe spaces online where I can learn, listen and begin to heal. A few safe spaces that i’ve found online are: To Write on Love on Her Arms (https://twloha.com/), The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/), and the Born this Way Foundation (https://bornthisway.foundation ).
Remember you are loved and stay alive friend.
I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was in middle school, but over the years that anxiety grew. It turned into something I didn’t know how to handle and it became increasingly difficult to do normal day-to-day activities. I wouldn’t be able to sit in a class lecture, walk into a mall, sit on a bus, or attend a show without feeling like I was on the verge of a panic attack. I became afraid of living my life the way that I once used to and the most terrifying part about it was that I didn’t know how to control it.
My first panic attack was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was at a show, somewhere I would consider a safe space, but I didn’t feel right. My mind and body had other plans for me. I left that show and went home thinking the next day things would be better, but they weren’t. I had one doctor tell me I was fine, it was in my head, and to just get some rest. That didn’t help. I didn’t feel myself and it was difficult for me to pinpoint what I was feeling. Every time someone asked, all I could say was that I felt off. I knew something was wrong and I refused to accept the fact that it wasn’t real. Eventually I went on to discuss what happened with a second doctor, one who was kind and understanding and truly wanted to help me figure out what was going on. That changed everything.
It’s not easy to open up, especially when you’ve done so in the past and it led to not getting help, but just because it’s not something physically seen doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. The thing about mental health is that it needs to be discussed. Everyone has their own struggles, anxiety just happens to be mine. Truthfully, it’s something I still deal with every day and I’m sure it’s going to always be a part of me; however, I will not let anxiety define me. I am stronger than that. And if you are struggling with mental health, please know that you are stronger than it. Do not let it define you.
If you were ever looking for an indicator about my feelings toward the need for openness and discussions surrounding mental health and how it is approached, it’s 2:21am and I haven’t really slept a whole lot over the last two weeks or so and I’m talking about my feelings toward the need for openness and discussions surrounding mental health and how it is approached.
Before I get going, I wanna cover a few bases. For starters, I don’t like to or want to throw around terms like “depressed, “anxiety,” etc etc. – I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor, I’ve never spoken with a therapist/shrink/whatever, I’ve never been prescribed a medication, I’ve never even booked an appointment to discuss it.
They’re important, serious, personal conditions and I think a big part of the stigma surrounding them is the wide misuse of them.
I won’t say that I have depression, or that I have anxiety, or that I have a mental health disorder (if “disorder” is the wrong word, I’m very sorry – it’s all I’m coming up with right now); but, that said, I do often feel depressed, I do often feel anxious, I do often worry over the state of my mental health.
And that’s fine.
But everyone has their bad days.
And I have my bad days.
I do what I can to work through the bad days, but nothing is perfect.
And that’s fine!
(Yeah, sure, “fine/alright/okay” is purely relative, but whatever. A win is a win and sometimes you have to tell yourself to take them when you can get them.)
There are the days where I think “how many bad days in a row am I allowed to have before maybe they’re not just ‘bad days?’” There are the days when I’m able to wake up with the sunrise, get a few miles in, have some breakfast, run some errands, and make it to bedtime without my mind going dark. There are the days where I wonder if getting out of bed is really necessary every day!? There are the times where maybe I forget to shower for a day or two, yet every piece of laundry in the house gets washed, dried, and folded. There are the days where I stay in the shower for thirty minutes and then sit on my bedroom floor in a towel for the next ninety. There are times I think about killing my self. There were times I tried killing my self. There are times I know that if I killed my self, my grandma would kill me.
There are days where I daydream about my next sixty years; a dog, a job, a partner who cares about me in shitty apartment we both love, and there are days where I wonder if I’ll make it to next week. There are days where I have too much to do so I do none of it. There are days where I know I have so much left to do with life my that I won’t, can’t go anywhere any time soon.
So yeah, it varies. But adapting is a weapon.
Sometimes I stay awake until 3 or 4 or 5, but by then I’ve cleaned under the bed and organized my closet and did the dishes. Sometimes it gets to a point where I need to list the reasons to stay around, but by then, I’m left with a list of reasons to stay around.
Everyone handles their struggles differently.
Because everyone struggles differently.
There’s no shame in feeling like you don’t have it all together.
And there’s no shame in not having it all together.
There’s no shame in wanting help.
There’s no shame in needing help.
There’s no shame in asking for help.
There’s no shame in getting help.
If you want help, if you need help, ask for help, get the help.
Someone will always help.