Informal mingling is a great way to overcome anxiety and get back in the swing with social skills. One of the benefits I learned from participating in a mental illness recovery program was getting away from feeling the need to isolate myself to avoid those labels. I wonder how many of you feel that way now? It’s scary, frustrating, and humiliating when other people are not compassionate or sensitive to the new you. The new you has a mental illness to live with and they know it in most cases. Be encouraged that your hope and dreams can still be realized. You will find that perfect balance between socializing and having alone time. Some tips that helped me were:
Participating in NAMI events (seriously) such as Tell-Your-Story classes and workshops;
NAMI Advocacy day (after meeting with Legislators)
Not being ashamed to go out with my peers (restaurant, crab feasts, bus trips, just hanging out) and inviting friends to my place for tea.
When you meet with peers who have a mental illness, too, you find yourself exchanging coping skills for those disturbances you cannot necessarily get over on your own, but do not need to make an appointment.
When we have setbacks that we cannot control, it is good to talk to a friend who understands the unique struggle of getting the negativities out of your head and finding your balance. A lot of time a simple misunderstanding can be a monumental trigger. Your peers who know you well are the ones to help you find that center again.
Finding that perfect peer group is part of the journey to mental wellness recovery. We have to remember that and stay in a loving and caring mindset to help those coming behind us. I am thinking today of a family member who was battling Depression badly. All the symptoms were there including: sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, substance abuse, complaints of pain, and even threats of ending it all. It was frightening and I ended up calling the local Crisis Prevention hotline. I spent 45 minutes to an hour with a compassionate woman on the other end. She told me everything I should look out for and do if the situation escalated and the person became combative. She counseled me who by then was at my wits’ end because nothing I said or did was helping the person. At the end of the call, I checked on the person and he was sound asleep.
In the morning, we both arose refreshed, but emotionally drained. Tenderly, I tip-toed around the subject when it seemed appropriate and asked one more time about making an appointment. I was asked a question that we sometimes lose sight of then and there. “Who is going to pay for it?”
Well, I’ll jump ahead to say that a few years ago, I let it drop because it was a valid question that I had no answer to. Now change has come. Today we have affordable and quality healthcare with access to mental healthcare services. This is very important for young adults especially. Mental illnesses are brain disorders that have no cure. They can be treated. Untreated mental illness such as Depression can lead to more serious mental illnesses or physical injury because when persons are depressed, they will make reckless decisions. Depression also causes unexplained aches and pains. These are just a few reasons why young adults, who are not invincible, need to have health insurance. They need to understand that poor health stops dreams, not labels (stigmas, stereotypes, etc.).
The next deadline for applying, shopping, and buying affordable and quality health insurance is January 15, 2014. This will mean insurance coverage on February 1, 2014. The premiums must be paid in order for the application process to be complete. Young adults should please GET COVERED at Healthcare.gov by January 15, 2014.