I am Annabelle Clawson, a new author for Mental Health for the Digital Generation. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder a couple of years ago. Looking back, I can see that I’ve struggled with mental illness for most of my life. My battle with it is far from over, but I’ve learned to be okay with that reality. I’ve found that leaning into it has helped me develop resilience, and I am excited to elaborate on that journey here at HealthyPlace.
Mental Health for the Digital Generation
My anxiety is at its worst right before going to bed. Many times, sleep is delayed or even prevented by my anxiety. I tend not to enjoy night-time, because I know that I'm going to feel anxious as soon as my head hits the pillow.
Mental health applications or apps are popping up left and right. In the age of technology, we have access to so many tools that can aid in our journies to recovery. My phone is constantly by my side and I use it for many different tasks. In the last few years, I've found several mental health apps that help me cope with my symptoms of depression and anxiety. Here are three that have been helping me a lot recently.
The ups and downs of depression flow in and out of your life. You sometimes feel great for a few weeks. You're motivated, you're social, and you're actually experiencing emotions. It seems as though you're finally back to what feels like normal. Then you crash. The depression comes over you like a dark cloud, and everything seems hopeless. The ups and downs of depression are so discouraging. When it seems like it's all over, the depression will sneak up on you and take over your life again.
It's so important to give yourself grace and be gentle with yourself when you struggle with anxiety. I tend to get angry with myself when anxiety takes over. Running from my responsibilities and hiding is my first reaction to a stressful situation. I get behind and then berate myself for not being stronger and overcoming it.
As negative thoughts are racing through your head, it's hard to focus on anything else, especially your ambitions. Goals can seem impossible to achieve when you're in the wrong mindset. You might even decide that it's not worth it to start a project or focus on a goal because you're experiencing all these negative thoughts that say you can't do it.
Journaling for mental health has helped me in so many ways. Not only does it help me track my moods, but it can keep me accountable when I'm trying to change a habit. By journaling for mental health consistently, I can backtrack to see where my feelings come from. I get frustrated when I go from one emotion to the other without knowing why. By writing down what I’m feeling, I can usually decipher why I’m having that specific emotion. When I’m trying to change a habit, journaling helps me to keep track of my progress. First, I set goals for myself -- just little steps to work towards changing the habit. I can journal each day about what I did to take a step towards the larger goal. This is not only motivating, but it keeps me accountable to myself.
Suicidal thoughts have been a part of most of my young adult life. Learning to cope with these thoughts has been one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced. As a young person, it's natural to seek help from the digital mediums that are such a significant part of my life. I've found support and many resources by searching online, utilizing apps, and using social media. I learned to cope with suicidal thoughts using digital media.
Self-esteem affects mental health and low self-esteem often results from having a mental illness. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I'm constantly battling negative thoughts that say I'm not good enough. I judge myself and compare myself to others. I'm afraid to put myself out there.
It's hard to forgive yourself when you have depression. Depression often causes you to be harsh and mean to yourself. When you make a mistake or don't follow through on something, the automatic response is negative self-talk. You begin to tell yourself that no one else would have made that mistake or that you're stupid for not having completed that task sooner. Why is it so hard to forgive yourself when you have depression?