In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I've got my latest duology on sale for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee ~ only $2.98!
In this YA story, you get to see how mental illness not only affects the person who has it, but how it also touches everyone around them in some way.
Mental illness is just that, an illness, not a weakness. The sad part about it is that many people don't speak up or get help until, for some, it's too late.
Depression isn't simply being sad.
Anxiety isn't simply being moody.
OCD isn't simply a need to clean.
Schizophrenia isn't simply hearing voices.
There's nothing simple about mental illness.
My Mental Illness
Everyone's story is different and nobody should be judged by their illness. For instance, I suffer from anxiety and OCD but I'm not defined by it. It's not who I am, it's something I have.
My OCD consists of double checking a lot of things (doors, alarms, the stove), holding on to my pants when I walk out of dressing rooms, touching my zipper before walking out of a bathroom, making sure things are evenly spaced, the need to secure things, and finishing what I start, even if it keeps me up all night. I also use a lot of hand sanitizer, keeping it in my vehicle and purse at all times, and don't like shaking hands. I'm sure there's more, but those are the main ones.
My anxiety involves crowds, going into new places, excessive worry, racing thoughts at night, and, oddly enough, things that spin or swing. Even when I was little, I didn't like for my swings to swing if I wasn't on them and would drape them over the bars so they couldn't. I also hate going to stores or big events and like to have a 'support person' with me who I'm close to and who understands. At restaurants, you'll find me sitting against a wall, hidden in a booth, never in the middle. I'll drive across town to go to a store or gas station I'm familiar with, passing several along the way. Circuses are a big no for me, too. I even get anxious about going to see the monster trucks when they come to town, especially when they do the donuts. I literally have to close my eyes.
Years ago, I used to have anxiety attacks but learned to talk myself out of them. Now, my anxiety shows up in the form of anger, agitation, and panic, as well as stress (or emotional) eating.
Am I crazy? Some might think so, but it's because people don't understand. Heck, even I don't understand it, sometimes, but I'm aware of it. It took my husband a while to embrace my 'quirks' and to learn the signals I give off when I'm feeling anxious or why I obsess over small (and sometimes strange) things. That's one of the reasons why this month is important to me and what prompted me to write the book, Leaves of Three.
Show you care... be aware!