Coping with Mental Illness as a Young Person

Becoming mentally ill at any age is an extremely challenging journey, but in today’s world there are many more people beginning to suffer with mental illness at a young age. When mental illness occurs at such a crucial time in an individual’s life, it can cause a variety of problems and complications.

Once a child reaches adolescence, it is seen as the time where you start thinking about and working towards your future. The work you do at school becomes far more important, you begin to start summer jobs, puberty kicks in, and you begin to find yourself. Any form of mental illness can severely disrupt this process, causing problems in both the present and the future. Soon exams are to follow, and you start to think about which college you’re going to, or whether you’re ready to enter the real world and start a career. These can be very stressful times, without the addition of a mental illness.

A lot of the time, this is when a mental illness may begin to show. As a young person you already have more than enough to cope with, that being education, puberty, your home life, social life and work. As there is already so much going on within your life, the way you’re feeling may be put down to either puberty or stress, however this is not always the case. Dismissing the possibility of yourself suffering from mental illness can lead to a lot of issues in the future, as mental illness tends to get worse when left untreated. Too many young people are not educated about mental health, the subject may never have crossed their mind, therefore leaving them in the dark if they do fall victim to a mental illness. Even if a young person wants to get help, they may fear stigma from friends, family, their teachers and their employers. This can leave you feeling like there’s nowhere to turn to, or leave you feeling too scared to get help. This can lead to you internalizing your problems, which may work at first but they soon begin to resurface in your life. Another problem with coping with mental illness as a young person is the fact that now they are aware they are ill, they feel there is nothing left to live for and that they won’t get better, particularly if the illness is chronic.

However, this is not true. Whether you live with or without mental illness, there is a better way of life and it does start with you. Firstly, find yourself a good support network. This can include friends, family, psychiatrists, counsellors and teachers. There will always be people willing to listen to you and provide advice, or simply listen if that’s what you need. Having a good support network is extremely useful as you know you always have people looking out for you, plus it will also help to ensure that you are getting the support you need within education or the workplace. Getting professional help is the first step to recovery, you’ve accepted that you are ill, and now you’re beginning your journey to recovery. The help you get depends on what you want and need, unless you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, you will be the person choosing which services you use and which methods you use to reach recovery, whether that be through different types of therapy, medication, counselling or a combination of those treatments. The next step is to find coping methods that work for you, these can be things such as hobbies and keeping yourself busy, or using things such as art and writing to express the way you’re feeling. It’s also important to make sure you have some relaxing time for yourself, whether that be for reading, meditating, or whatever you choose. Becoming involved within the mental health community is without a doubt one of my favourite coping methods. There are people out there that will understand and support you in any way that they can, and you can do the same for others. For me, helping others has let me see that there is still so much to live for, it has let me see the beauty of this world, and the beauty and kindness of other people.

The road to recovery can be a long one, and it is very different for each individual, but things truly do get easier with time, and recovery is very much possible. Your life is worth living, simply because you’re you.

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