Mental Illness: A Journey // Monday Musings

Hello bookworms and welcome back! It’s Monday, and you know what that means… or at least, I hope you know what that means – It’s Monday Musings time! This week, I felt an urge to share and ramble about something that is up close and personal, but also a wider issue at the same time. Mental illness


I’m a strong advocate for raising awareness for mental illness. It’s a thing that I love to see explored in books, it’s something that I loved learning about in school and still love learning about and it’s something that I struggled with a lot in recent years. Why do I have such a fascination and (slight obsession) for seeing mental illness being discussed and addressed? Because it’s so hard to understand. Doctors have the physical illnesses all figured out (kind of… well, more than mental illness that’s for sure!), but when it comes to mental illness, it’s not so simple. Not everyone experiences mental illness the same way, there isn’t one particular cause that can account for everyone. Some people face mental illness on an intense scale, while others face it with a smaller intensity, which can make it harder for doctors to recognise symptoms and such, which in turn can create a barrier for some people – one of which, I was included.

Today, I wanted to share with you all my personal experience with mental illness and how it has affected my life. I would say that I have since recovered from the more intense nature of my mental illness, which reached its peak last year. But I wouldn’t say that I have fully recovered – my anxiety still stands and comes out occasionally, which is always an uncomfortable experience that I am always trying to get rid of. But I’ve recovered so much in the past few months, that I just want to share what my journey has been like and what is still ahead of me.

Naturally, I am a very withdrawn and quiet person. I’ve always found it hard to interact with people and make new friends. Meeting and talking to people I am unfamiliar with, evokes a huge amount of anxiety within me, sometimes to the point where my body reacts in response to my internal panic. Social situations, and situations where I might be on my own in a group of people with no one I am familiar with, scares me. It scares me a lot. Even thinking about this type of situation right now is making my heart race faster than normal (which, by the way, sucks). 

My social anxiety has always been an extra weight on my shoulders, and especially last year, as I began to move into adulthood, where more opportunities and responsibilities were being thrust upon me, I found myself to be anxious almost all the time. I was placed in more situations where things were new to me, with new people, and in these situations, I was usually on my own, without people I was close with. Mixed in with this anxiety, was the stress of my last year of high school and my final exams. The result of this? I started to slowly spiral into a state of depression.

Not long after my birthday last year in June, I found myself pulling back into my thoughts. I was constantly thinking about how I was feeling, asking myself why I was feeling the way I was. I started to question my existence and more than a few times I told myself that I was worthless and that there was no reason for me around. My anxiety flared up when going into almost any social situation, because I was so fixed on the thought that no one really cared whether I was around or not, which soon led to me withdrawing from these social situations. I stopped going to regular meetings, I stopped seeing my friends and I locked myself up at home, in my room. I was on the verge of tears almost all the time, and I was almost like a zombie walking around school every day. I couldn’t concentrate in class because I was constantly thinking about the pointlessness of life. And I became suicidal. The scariest part was that it didn’t freak me out that I was suicidal. The only feeling I felt, was numbness.

For me, it was hard because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to talk to, and I constantly feared that if I did open to someone, I’d be criticised and told that my feelings were irrational.

You see, this is why I have such strong interests in mental illness – because I believe it should be something we are well educated in and it should be treated in the same way we treat any other kind of illness. The mind is important – your brain is what allows you to live the way you do – move the way you do, see the way you do, think the way you do. If we can’t understand and know how to deal with the problems that our minds can face, then we are ignoring a big part of ourselves. Your mental health is extremely important, and with the amount of suicide and other things going on, we really need to do something about bringing more awareness to everyone about it.

There’s a sort of weight, or stigma that comes with some of the words we use in regards to mental illness. Words like depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia – and there are so many more, I could go on for a while – have something attached to them that even today, makes mental illness a taboo subject. And it shouldn’t be, because it’s becoming such a huge problem in so many people’s lives, and when people feel like they can’t share what they’re feeling for the fear that they’re going to be judged, this only intensifies the problem because we’re forced to keep these things to ourselves. Granted, it’s hard to judge whether someone has a mental illness – but that’s the thing, we shouldn’t leave it to the most extreme circumstances, or the most extreme signs of symptoms to deal with a mental issue. It should be something we deal with immediately, something we take with the most extreme care. Coming from the perspective where I felt an extreme fear that what I was feeling was irrational, and not anything serious, despite the fact that it was, I really feel that we need a huge wave of normalization of what mental illness is – being able to speak freely about how we feel without the thought that we might be getting judged.

And with that rant over, I go back to my journey. I call it a journey because I don’t think it’s ever truly over – its life, and life’s a journey. I’ve gone through a huge stage of recovery, and I thank God, and the people around me who have supported me and held me up through the tough times, but the journey is still going. My anxiety is not so easily removed from me, and sometimes it’s still a major battle to deal with it in everyday life situations. While I haven’t got it as tough as others, I believe it’s important to share – your feelings are valid, they are real, and they are important. You should never be afraid of telling people how you feel, most especially, the people who love you most. The only thing that holding everything inside does, is send you further into that pit that you might feel you’re in. Sometimes, it’s the people closest to you that you find are the hardest to open up to, but don’t let this stop you, don’t let it isolate yourself from the people who can do the most to build you up and help you.

I don’t really know where this post is going anymore, honestly. It’s Monday Musings, so it’s all a bunch of personal babbling! My babbling about the importance of mental illness and how important it is that we talk about it more freely and openly about it.

So I suppose that concludes my babbling! I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Monday Musings, a slightly more personal post, but I feel that it’s something that should be shared!

45 thoughts on “Mental Illness: A Journey // Monday Musings

  1. Pingback: Looking Back // February 2016 – Josies Book Corner

  2. Aw Josie! *hugs*

    Thank you so, so much for writing this post. I’ve been getting panic attacks and severe anxiety for the last seven years and it’s honestly such an awful thing. It’s the constant fear, the physical symptoms, the worrying…it’s so exhausting. Mental illness is something that really needs to be talked about more. It’s something that affects so many people yet it’s still viewed as a taboo subject and that desperately needs to change.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us, I hope this post will enlighten and encourage everyone who reads it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that you get such high levels of anxiety and panic attacks! *hugs* I know it is an exhausting feeling, especially when it’s constantly there everyday!
      It’s sad that it is still viewed as a taboo subject now. In this day and age, I think it should be thought of as anything BUT taboo.
      I’m so glad you liked this post! 😊


  3. The freakiest part of mental illness is that there’s no set cure. Everyone’s bodies function basically the same, so when something’s wrong with a body, what cures one cures most. But minds are so SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. My sister and I come from a family of heavy mental illness, and whether it was genetics or learning all aspects of life from someone who was severely mentally ill, both of us started to display symptoms. Both of us were given the same reaction: we were told heavily that we were ungrateful and had no reason to feel the way we were feeling, and we responded COMPLETELY differently. I got so angry that I considered overhauling my life and was really able to delve into what was worth living for (so in a way it helped) and my sister dove into a deep depression and feeling of worthlessness. She still hasn’t recovered. So it’s just something so hard to diagnose, recognize, and treat, I feel like some people just would rather believe it didn’t exist.
    (sorry this is so long.. it was really nice to read your experience on this)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s definitely the freaky and complicated part! There is no easy course of action to help people out of mental illness. It’s all about human interaction, understanding, kindness and support and being able to give people what they need to help – and knowing what they need to feel better!
      Wow, that’s incredible to hear you two took that same situation in totally different ways! My best wishes and love go out to you and your sister!

      Thank you for the comment! You never need to say sorry for sending in this kind of long comment – I love them. And I’m glad you appreciate me sharing my experience!


      • It’s crazy how different the human mind works compared to the rest of the body. Every mind is shaped by its experiences in environment, relations, as well as tenancies to sway towards certain personalities, so it’s IMPOSSIBLE to have a “one size fits all” type cure for any given illness.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful and heartfelt post about your experience with mental illness Josie! This is something that has affected myself and my family at times, so I can definitely relate to some of those issues that you were/are going through. It’s definitely important to tell people how you feel, and have that support network there that can be there for you – even if they don’t understand what you’re going through. That’s my philosophy too, never regret how you are feeling because you NEED to feel like that in order to let those emotions pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jeann! I’m so glad I shared it with you all.
      I’m sorry that it’s something that has affected you also, and I’m definitely here if you need anything, anytime!
      Support is so, so important and yes you’re right, it doesn’t matter whether they fully understand you or not. Holding back the feeling is just not going to help at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing this, Josie! I really admire that you’re able to comfortably talk about this.

    I have really terrible anxiety. I’m just a very awkward introvert normally and anything that has me having to interact with people I don’t know makes me nervous and fidgety. And I have an AWFUL fear of public speaking for that reason. Unfortunately, I have to take that course this semester for my degree so I’m just tackling it speech by speech. But I’ve talked to medical professionals about lessening the anxiety and they’ve mentioned how imagining a successful speech, meeting, or friendship can help with the nervousness around strangers. I guess envisioning success makes the fear dwindle down a bit.

    Anyway, thanks again so much for sharing your journey! And remember you will always have all of us in which you can confide in or depend on if you ever feel down about anything. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I was a little nervous about posting it, but I wanted to put it up to break through the barrier!
      I know exactly how you feel. I’m a huge introvert too, and very awkward too, and my mind and heart races when I’m in a situation where I am around people I don’t know or am not comfortable with, or if I have to speak in front of a big crowd.
      I’ve never tried imagining my success, because my anxiety usually overrides all other rational thoughts! But that’s a good tip.
      Thank you for being here! And also, the same with me, I am always here for you if you need someone to talk to! 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your own personal struggles and posting this. I too suffer from Anxiety and it has been the worst it’s ever been for me lately due to my stress levels over university work and deadlines. I really liked the part where you mentioned how you said you felt you got more anxious as you became an adult because this is exactly what happened to me and I find it increasingly harder to explain to people how for example I don’t want to go out on a night out because of my anxiety. I understand it’s a hard topic for people who don’t suffer from it to understand but we were never taught about these sort of things at my school so education on the subject is important.

    I hope your journey gets better, I’m too trying to make 2016 my year. I’ve cut some people out of my life who I realized were really not good for me due to their continuous negative comments and I can see it’s already a step in the right direction for me. I look forward to seeing any updates on your anxiety or journey in the future to see how your doing and any tips you may have to offer on days you felt it get too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sending love and hugs your way! I remember when my anxiety got very bad late last year because of stress from my exams. It’s horrible!
      And yes, I think as you get older, you’re put in more situations that can cause your anxiety to surface, especially if you didn’t try to deal with or solve it earlier on. And it’s hard when people don’t understand why you can’t or don’t want to go somewhere or do something! It needs to be educated to people so much more. I wish it was more of a central part of teaching in school.

      I hope your journey gets better too! I’m here for you all the way, so whenever you need to talk, send me an email or send me a message on one of my social medias! I’ll definitely keep you guys updated on my progress from here.


  7. Pingback: Sigh….. Miranda Sings Award – Signing On

  8. THANK YOU JOSIE – you covered this so well.
    I haven’t been diagnosed with mental illness – but many of my friends have been, and they have described it a lot like what you have, with a couple of differences here and there.
    I’m a strong advocate for mental health awareness, and it actually pains me to know that there is such a stigma associated with mental illness. We definitely should try to help other people become more aware of mental health :/
    I think mental illness differs for all, and everyone’s experiences are equally unique and important to listen to – I’m so glad you shared yours with us ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much! What’s it like, being around your friends who have been diagnosed with mental illness?
      The stigma is horrible, and I’m hoping that very soon, that stigma will be erased! We need more of that awareness, especially since mental illness isn’t black and white, it’s unique and yes, like you said, different for everyone.


      • To be honest, it’s hard for me to be around them, because I don’t really know what to say anymore. Especially with my ex, we kind of drifted away from each other because I really didn’t get anything he was going through. I’ don’t hang out with most of them anymore, because (and this sounds bad) but I just don’t know how to be a good friend to them anymore – I have no idea how to be supportive. and tend to worsen things instead.
        That stigma is really one of the worst things about mental illness – it can make it so much harder for people to muster up the courage to get treatment.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. wow. so well put. This was a great post Josie. It couldn’t have been super easy for you to share like that but I’m glad you did. I think this will help a lot of people. I agree! this shouldn’t be a tabboo subject! It shouldn’t be swept under the rug. It should be discussed and addressed! and it also shouldn’t be taken lightly. I feel like so many people use the term OCD so lightly. They use it whenever they want to describe a certain pet peeve or habbit. That’s not what it is. There are people out there who are actually suffering from OCD.
    I kind of went off on a tangent there. haha. Loved this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! No it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.
      Oh yes this is definitely a subject that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet at all.
      Sometimes I am guilty of using OCD in the wrong context! I’m trying to get the hang of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post so much and you are so right! Mental Health shouldn’t be this big taboo and I wish some stereotypical connotations can just be removed from the word. Some of my close family members have and still are battling with mental health issues and it’s sometimes hard to just talk about it freely to people. Mental Health should be given the same high standing as physical health. Period.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey, Josie. It’s always so humbling to read someone else’s story, and I think it’s fantastic that you’re opening up an avenue where people can share their thoughts and have discussions about it.

    I struggled with anxiety when I was a teenager – I would feel super anxious and scared and I would shake from it for the smallest of reasons, and I never understood why. So, although we have a ways to go, it’s great that there is more awareness of mental illness, and that we have people like you who are advocates of mental health education and open to sharing your experiences. 🙂

    So, all my yeses to this post! I hope you know that you have my fullest support and I’ll always have your back! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you CW for your support of me and your approval of this post! I don’t know where I found the compulsion to write about my story, but I suppose it was meant to be.
      Oh wow, and how is your anxiety now?
      Indeed, we have a way to go still, but it’s a great start!


  12. I am so glad that you are willing to talk about your struggles with mental illness. It can be so hard and so many people aren’t willing to bring their heart wrenching difficulties to light.
    I just want to say, keep going girl! There will always be good days to your bad days and there will always be people who will be here for you. Don’t feel guilty about taking the time you need to yourself and when that time becomes too much, you have friends more than willing to drag you back again! Don’t ever hesitate to ask if you ever need anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Alicia! I just feel like it’s something that needs to be shared, you know?
      And thank you, I know, I have such a good support system, in real life, AND in my blogging life. Thank you guys so much! I won’t hesitate to ask you if I do! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you so much for sharing, Josie.

    I think that it’s so important that we have conversations like this. So many people are dealing with fluctuating mental health and it’s so important to know that you’re not alone.

    As I’ve gotten older I found it’s easier (I’m 23), but when I was a teenager I struggled so much with social anxiety. I really isolated myself because the idea of going out with large groups of people, or to the house of someone that I didn’t know that well just scared me too much. I used to get panic attacks where I would throw up because I had got so worked up. I felt like there was something very wrong with me. I didn’t tell anyone about it at the time, because I was embarrassed. I don’t feel that way any more. It’s just something that I had to go through. I still have a lot of anxieties now, but looking at what I’ve overcome gives me more confidence going into the future.

    I recently read a book called Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson. It’s a memoir, not YA, but honestly it’s the best book about mental health that I’ve ever read.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This was such a good post to read, Josie. Thank you for posting this and opening up about your issues and everything. I’m glad you felt good to talk about this, it really feels good to read it! ❤ I have to say, I recognize myself in some of those situations you talked about. I'm a really anxious person, too, in my everyday life, and I worry and stress out an awful lot about everything. That really is hard, and sucks, at times, but well. It's good to see that books aren't afraid to tackle those important issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you so much for posting this Josie! I agree on so many points you’ve made and I don’t think it was babbling at all. It must have been difficult to talk about such a personal topic, but as you said, it shouldn’t be. I often have no idea who to talk to about things like that and it makes me incredibly sad. There shouldn’t be such a barrier or stigma to it. I am glad you talked about this topic ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Bravo Josie. This post is so important. Anxiety and depression are two words that have become a pretty large factor in my life, and I can identify totally with what you’ve said above. It makes me feel so relieved to see people talking openly about mental illness like you have today, people who understand what it feels like and have the courage to share it with others. Thank you for that. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Emma!
      Im glad this post came as a comfort for you! It’s a shame that you too have to deal with the things I’ve gone through, but know that you’re not alone and I am always here personally for you to talk to whenever you need!
      My goal with this post was definitely to promote that more open discussion of the topic and to give people like you the courage to speak out! Stay strong and know you have people who want to support you! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for posting this, Josie. I don’t actually know if I have social anxiety but I can somehow relate to this. Idk if what I’m experiencing are legit symptoms but I somehow experience “anxiety”. I’m not comfortable with being around a lot of people especially strangers. I hate making phonecalls/answering the phone. It’s hard for me to start a conversation. I get tense when being asked for my opinion. There were times that I just find it hard to breath all of a sudden but of course, there was no proper diagnosis. Anyway, I guess it’s part of the journey, like you said and I’m just going through a phase. But I do want to learn more about this topic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Beatrice! Honestly, the things you feel, are exactly the things I feel as well when it comes to social things. Talking on the phone, with someone other than my close friends just gives me anxiety and I will avoid it at all costs.
      You might not relate to all the symptoms of social anxiety, and you don’t have to! Don’t doubt your feelings, because sometimes, that can make it worse. I always told myself it was just a phase, but afetr a while, I realised it wasn’t something as easy as a phase. If you ever need anyone to talk to, let me know! Send me an email, or chat to me on Twitter, I’d love to chat with you!

      Liked by 1 person

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