Guest Blogger, Arielle Roth is the Marketing Manager of Amigo Mobility, Owner of Riella Marketing & Design and Co-Owner + CCO of Emerge Entrepreneur Collective. She also speaks on mental health and addiction, and works to create a safe space for others struggling.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, yet nearly two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. ADAA is dedicated to helping those living with anxiety, depression, and co-occurring disorders and their loved ones find treatment, support, and resources.
With changes and unknowns due to the past year, the number has grown tremendously, while access to resources has become significantly harder. WIL member Arielle Roth has battled depression and bipolar since her teen years, and in the past year began speaking on managing mental health, she shares her journey and some of her tips for balancing her mental health, stress and life with us:
It's hard to be vulnerable, but important. It's how safe spaces are created for others, especially for those that have not struggled before it can be overwhelming and it's time to #BreakTheStigma for others to realize they aren't alone.
I was diagnosed with chronic depression and high anxiety when I was 17, and I always find it interesting that even at that age I was incredibly comfortable speaking about it. But I didn't fully understand it, especially how to manage it. That mixed with side effects of medications, trial and errors of finding the correct ones, along with just the general angst of being a teenager was...a lot. And I always assumed things were working as they were and my life would always just be that way.
As I got older I started to realize the medications weren't working for me. I also started to realize that I do not have anxiety, I rarely feel anxious in regards to life and decision, am capable of making game plans and very logically make decisions. My struggle is large mood swings, heavy depressive ones, I am easily distracted, have a hard time staying on track or on deadlines, and a handful of other side effects that led us to realize it was bipolar. Which I have never struggled with - on the contrary it simply brought me answers I needed.
Around 21 I also made the decision to fully go off of medications and learn how to manage my illnesses on my own. Please note - I am not a medical professional, this is in no way my advice to someone, only my experience. I did this with the help of a professional therapist and trial and error on my own part. 95% of the time I am great, but when I struggle...I struggle hard. But if you're trying to get a better grasp on your mental health, especially after this last year, here is some of my best advice:
- Embrace it - Find the positives in your mental illness. Odd statement right? It's been a revelation for me though, it is a part of me. And negatives aside it makes me incredibly passionate and self-aware of my life which has brought many positives.
- Be active - it really is the best natural medicine. Your doctor isn't just telling you that. Even if it is only a thirty minute walk a day, I can tell a drastic change in my mood if I'm staying active or slacking.
- Let the bad days be bad - if you are avoiding letting yourself be sad or feel the negatives you will continue to bottle them up. At some point they are going to overflow. So let the bad days be bad, but know the next day is a new fresh start and it doesn't need to be bad too.
- Think before you panic - it took me a long time to get into this habit but, when you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable ask yourself "what is the worst that can happen in this situation?" Majority of the time the worst outcome is exactly where you are at currently, and you're already surviving that. This also allows you to make a game plan by looking at potential outcomes rather than panicking.
- Learn what works for you - I have a really hard time with sticking to deadlines, keeping track of...anything, and simply being forgetful. I have had to learn how to offset that. I tried digital planners it doesn't work. Bipolar comes with an interesting aspect that if we can't physically see something we forget it exists, so phone planners don't work. Instead I have a yearly monthly planner, I also have a one month giant whiteboard calendar in my office, and I use a desk calendar for EVERY individual client. But it means at all times I can see everything I need, it is what works for me.
- Find something be thankful for everyday - and write it down. Even if it's a tiny moment, it forces you to find a positive even when you are struggling.
- Realize you are not alone - find someone who will listen. And if you can't, I always will and can be reached by email or Facebook anytime you need.