There was a time in my life, in the late nineties, when I suffered from anxiety and depression. The stresses of work and a fading long-term relationship were taking a very heavy toll. I suffered in silence as my friends and family had no idea how fragile I really was.
This article is part of How-To Geek’s Mental Health Awareness Day. You can read more about what we’re doing here.
Anxiety attacks had rendered me unable to cope with basic decisions, and the doctors that treated me simply told me to “learn how to relax”. The Holter monitors confirmed I wasn’t dying, but I was still in a rut. I was abusing alcohol, and life as I knew it, was spiraling out of control. I knew I had to make some changes and quickly, or I wouldn’t be around much longer.
So I moved. I fled New York City for the greener pastures of the Green Mountains. I thought Vermont seemed like a great place to heal, and it was a life-altering decision. Fast forward a few years, and after some heavy duty counseling, I slowly came around. I bought a puppy, curtailed my alcohol intake and got married. In hindsight, I probably could have sought clinical help along the way, long before I finally did. I was lucky and never forget that and know others are not so fortunate.
You’ve read our stories today, and hopefully you’ve gleaned something new about mental health. If you know someone, a friend or family member (heck, it might even be you) that might be suffering, please do not delay. Seek help. We’ve gathered some resources to assist you in taking that difficult initial step. This is by no means a complete list, and sadly, it is limited to U.S. organizations. Mental illness knows no borders, though, so if you’re living outside of the U.S., seek out some similar places for your location.
Finally, if you are in a position to volunteer, consider donating your time if not some money. Learn the early warning signs and advocate for someone less strong than you. Make a difference.
Disorders include the following:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsion Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Substance Abuse
- Suicide Prevention
Here are some fact sheets on many of these from the World Health Organization.
Where to get help:
- Find an Affiliate (Mental Health America)
- Living with a Mental Health Condition (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- Help for Mental Illness (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Hotlines for emergencies and suicide prevention:
Symptoms and screening tools:
- Mental Health Online Screening Tools (Mental Health America)
- How to Get Mental Health Screening (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
How to donate:
- Donate to Mental Health America
- Donate to National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Donate to National Institute of Mental Health
How to volunteer:
- Opportunities for volunteers (National Institute of Health)
- Volunteer with Mental Health America
- Find Your Local NAMI Organization (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Thanks for taking part in our Mental Health Awareness Day. We’ll be back tomorrow.