The Mental Health Commonwealth

Oh wow, I’ve always wondered what it’s like for someone in the profession to also have the types of problems they’re trying to help with. Do you find it helps you relate? Or does it get in the way? Judging by the way I interact with friends, I’d have a hard time separating my issues from the patient’s.

1 Like

I think it does help give an insight, I feel I’m a little quicker at picking up on certain cues (especially the “I’ll try and sound like I’m ok / say something of the like, so this awkward fuss ends”) than others may be. Learning how to keep emotional distance is super important, which is why it can be so tough to try and help your friends - not only are the skills not in place, you have an even closer connection to the person than a therapist-client.

Now on the other hand, I feel like I get drained a lot quicker than someone without mental health stuff going on. I need to focus harder on not only the distance, but also on tracking general social cues and keeping professional demeanour etc. I guess I try to see it as a quality over quantity kind of thing? Part of why I’m focused on research right now is that I can do more preventative care, which is a lot less spoons-intensive* for the investigator.

EDIT: Also, a LOT of people studying psych have some level of mental health issues in their lives (personal or second hand), I’d go as far as to say most.


Yup, just graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology myself. Part of the reason I’m so interested in the field is both because I want to better understand how and why my brain functions the way it does, and how to help others who are going through the same.

1 Like

100% this. Very common sentiment. People who have been through this stuff don’t need to be told “depression just isn’t feeling sad all the time” when they’ve lived though just how it can permeate every part of a person’s life.

1 Like

To chip in myself, having gone through (bachelor’s) psychology education myself, I can also tell you that there’s a significant chunk of people who get psych degrees because they’ve got hella brain problems themselves, and want to figure themselves out and/or help people in the same boat. I changed focus post-bachelor’s because I realized that I would completely destroy myself if I made a career out of social work or therapy, to say nothing of the downright insulting salary an MSW will get you.

Anyway hi. I’m actually pretty well off in the terms of the cosmic lottery, being a cis white dude from a decently well off family, but I still got handed a pretty vicious and well-spoken case of chronic depression. I’m on an SNRI for it, and that’s been doing me pretty well for a few years now, but I still have cycles down into depressive states even while on it. I’ve gotten fairly good at stubbornly bulldozing through them, at least.


Hi! I don’t have a degree in brain fixin’ myself, but I do have severe reoccurring depression, PTSD, and other various minor personality disorders! I am on meds which work pretty good, I think, but sadly had to stop going to therapy because I lost my insurance. I mean, it is not like that is the one way to treat PTSD or anything, right?

Also I refuse to see any therapist who is a neurotypical (aka has no mental disorders) because I can’t trust them to know what I am talking about if they have never really experienced it themselves.

1 Like

I’ve had severe anxiety since childhood, longterm insomnia since middle school & clinical depression starting halfway through high school though I had bouts of it before it became a chronic thing. I was never properly diagnosed with any of them until my early 20s. Tried some medications but none of them really worked. Probably because I was going to a regular doctor at the time but thankfully I was able to ween myself off them with his help so there’s that.

Weirdly enough, to me anyway, the insomnia & depression I’ve found somewhat manageable in that they don’t hinder me too much in the real world too often (though I do have really bad days with both more often than not). It’s the anxiety that gets me the worst. I actually had to leave my last job because of it.

I’m supposed to go see a proper therapist in the near future, providing nothing comes up or anything like that. I’m cautiously optimistic, is the thing. Also, this thread its pretty awesome. It’s nice to have a place to not only share my stuff but be able to read what others might be going through as well. Helps the take edge off somewhat.

1 Like

:tw: Yo, I mention physical and emotional abuse and suicide. :tw:

I’m not even sure what to type here because my life has been so thoroughly beset by such obscene tragedy and blinding luck that I wouldn’t blame anyone if they declared STDH. But it did happen, it really did. My whole fucked up life story would probably be a fucking novel in size and ain’t nobody got time for that. The TL;DR is that my life was complete and utter shit because I was severely emotionally and physically abused, had the love of my life torn away from me and kill herself, tried to commit suicide myself, had to be hospitalized because I literally shut down and stopped living and almost completely fucked myself trying to break out of crushing poverty and only managed to survive because I tricked a middle to upper middle class guy into falling in love with me and marrying me.

Want the full story? It’s REALLY FUCKING LONG but you can read it here. :tw: Note: This in depth story of Holy shit Jenner your life features more detailed accounts of physical and emotional abuse, suicide and suicidal ideation, and probably a bunch of other awful shit. :tw:

1 Like

Hi Jenner,

Thanks for sharing your story. Also, thanks for using the :tw: tag, I should make a note of that in the OP. I saw you made a thread about activism, I think it’s really awesome that you’re taking your life experiences and turning into a passion for helping others.


So yesterday I had a big meltdown in Spanish 201 and looked like a massive freak. It’s eating me up inside because I struggle so fucking hard to maintain a basic level of normality in that class, which is incredibly stressful on a good day. But now, not only do I have what amounts to a relapse on my hands (I used to scream and cry and punch stuff far longer than it was ever acceptable to do so), 25 other people now know how awful and weird and upsetting I am. They shouldn’t have to deal with this shit. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to like myself and make friends and be loved in modern society but god damnit, I should be the only one who has to put up with my bullshit.

1 Like

@Tenerence That sounds really rough, man. I understand what it feels like when things seem to be taking a downward turn. All I can say is that it is highly likely that the people in your class are not going to be thinking about this nearly as much as you may think they will be. When things are rough, we’re much more likely to be way more judgemental about ourselves than decent people/classmates will be. You have as much permission to have a bad, crappy day as any one of us. And it doesn’t matter if it is a string of bad days, or if they bad days out number the good ones in a week. No one else is getting thought the same week as you, with the same resources/burdens you have. All you can do is try to get though it, and it may take a while (heck it took me 9 years to get though my 3 year undergrad program), but every day you get though is a win.

Sorry if any of this is out of line, but I feel for you mate.


Hi!! I’m Koko and I have been living with depression and anxiety for over 10 years (when it began is kind of hard to determine) and so far it’s kind of looking like I’m on the autism spectrum. Brain stuff is weird!
Mild :tw: but I’m not gonna get into details so it shouldn’t be too bad???

I had a lot of trouble making friends as a kid because of stuff like “not knowing how to talk to people” and “liking boring things” and “having a bad temper”. Eventually as a teenager I started getting mega depressed and all of those troubles I had with socializing persisted, even getting worse. I started suffering from chronic migraines, which, at worst, were hitting me daily, and at best, maybe 3-4 times a week. Anything would set them off. Sudden noises, arguments, strong smells, bright lights. (I’d learned about it and eventually came to the conclusion that they were caused by stress.) I slacked off big time in high school, barely doing half my work, avoiding anything that was confusing to me, never studying (but still faring well on tests because of memory). I barely passed high school with a GPA around 1.9.
The time for college came around and I last-minute applied for a local community college. It was… significantly easier than high school. I had half the number of classes and dramatically less class time. My performance peaked and I was getting GPAs around 3.5. I found one of the loopholes in my mental illness, which was just that keeping busy with a lot of different things made me less likely to get depressed. (I eventually crash because of burn-out though.) At this point in my life I was struggling with an emotionally abusive friendship and just beginning an obsession with suicide.
I graduated college and then things got weird. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I didn’t have debt because my school was cheap enough that grants paid for it (which I am still so fucking thankful for), but I didn’t exactly have jobs or anything lined up. I mostly worked on my own art projects, stuff like comics and the like. I started taking anti-depressants after talking to my doctor about my moods. I stopped being friends with the person who was abusing me. After a while on my meds, I felt like their effectiveness was weakening, so I tried a different medication. But it didn’t work at all for me, and I ended up crashing.
Eventually circumstances forced me to get a job, so I just desperately applied wherever and ended up working at a coffee shop. Which… sucked! A lot! It wasn’t the job itself that sucked, but the people, I guess. At first I was doing a lot, working really hard, almost always had around 39 hours, constantly accepted requests to cover people’s shifts. Eventually I started crashing, especially when they fixed the timer at our work and I was constantly getting grilled for not being fast enough. After less than a year at the job I was having emotional breakdowns constantly, despite changing to a different store. I felt like I’d been experiencing a months-long panic attack I felt like I had to quit before I’d end up hurting myself over it. So, I did, and after a few months of trying to get my anxiety levels back down, I ended up starting therapy for the first time in my life.
I got really lucky. Like, super ridiculously lucky. The very first therapist I tried was perfect for me. She was practical and had a sense of humor and didn’t try to bullshit me. I went to therapy for about a year, but just recently I lost my health insurance and haven’t been able to go back since. I’ve been without meds or therapy for a few months now and it’s just… so much different from how I used to be. I feel a lot better, even at my worst moments. It’s a lot harder for me to get in really bad moods. I still want and need to go back to therapy, so I’m trying to sort out my health insurance. But man. I can’t believe how much it did for me. I can’t really explain it well. It was just really nice having someone I could say anything to and not… feel punished for expressing myself, I guess.

If there’s anything I wanted to express out of all that rambling I guess it’s just… if you can just push yourself, bit by bit, to work for it… you can get yourself out of hell. Even if it’s scary, even if you feel alone, even if it you feel like things aren’t ever going to work out.


Thanks for sharing, Koko. I can relate to having mental illness impact school; at the end of 8th grade and all through 9th grade I started avoiding school like the plague. It got to the point where I ‘faked’ being sick so much in 9th grade that I missed one-third of the school days, and even went to the emergency room since I was so dehydrated from not really eating or drinking much for a long ass time. I failed 9th grade but instead of doing summer classes, I bailed on physical high school and took the rest of my years online. Which I thought would work out, but the first year I pulled the same sort of deal and panicked about work I didn’t have done so I was “sick” a lot. At first it was a stomach thing, then I started to get actual migraines, which I turned into chronic migraines because it was the easiest excuse (also not eating much and reversing your sleep schedule tends to not do good things for your head, haha). Anyway, I sort of figured it out for the last two years of high school, enough that I was able to do some work and graduate. I sort of hobbled along like that until as I mentioned in my story post I started seeing a therapist summer before my junior year of college. Thankfully I’ve only had a handful of migraines per year since then.


Oh yeah, I used to skip my least favorite classes by sitting things out in the nurse’s office a lot. She kind of put up with it 75% of the time because I think she kind of understood that I had depression that wasn’t getting treated… probably figured it was better than other shit I could be doing. Also I just blatantly used the migraines as an excuse a lot.


(I already know the answer to this will be yes, but I’m asking semi-rhetorically)
Do yall have a hard time keeping a realistic perspective on the quality/amount of work you do? I just shot an email to my boss that I’ve been avoiding for a few weeks, summarizing the amount of work that I haven’t gotten done. My department is super understaffed, but I still feel like I’m letting the team down by not pulling my weight. My usual way of dealing with anxiety of that sort is to just avoid dealing with the thing altogether, which, as I’m sure you all understand, is not a good way of handling it. How do you keep a level perspective on how far to push yourself? I know me pretty well, and I know if I give myself an inch of leeway, I’ll take a lightyear. How do you avoid burnout?

Additionally, it feels super cathartic to go “Hey guys, I have a problem!”, where I feel like I’ve done my part and so I stop there. Do you have strategies for dealing with this sort of thing? (It makes me think of going to protests, but sort of stopping there and not engaging any further in making change)


I had trouble with school attendance, too. Middle school was hell, tl;dr I had the personality bullied right out of me, and that’s when the depression took a nosedive. I straight up spent 80% of my first year of high school sitting in coffee shops or libraries instead of going, because being at school made me have breakdowns and hallucinations… which brings up another shitty thing:

My mother was one of those… ‘you’re not sad, you’re just being dramatic!’ and ‘you’re not hallucinating, you’ve just got an over-active imagination!’ sort of parents. She refused to let me see a psychiatrist for years, and it made my brain problems a lot worse. (She even refused to let me see an eye doctor when my eyesight was going bad, claiming that I only wanted glasses because they were cute. Um, no…) If you’re still young and you’ve got a parent like this, you need to take it into your own hands. Maybe see a counselor at school and see if they can set you up with something, or find another adult you trust that can convince your parent. Waiting until your parent comes around will only make things harder to deal with.


Yeah, I spent a good chunk of my middle and high school years being bullied hard, and missed a sizable number of days through my school years just staying home to keep myself from having a breakdown, or because I would get so stressed that I would actually get sick. I could go on and on about how bad those years were but frankly I’d rather just forget they ever happened.

In other news, I sure wish I had the level of focus and dedication towards anything that the diseased part of my brain that wants to make me think about horrible things non-stop for two and a half weeks has.


I really sort of wish you could turn off the part of your brain that desires intimacy or something. In 35 years on this earth, the entirety of my relationship experience consists of two of the most dysfunctional, messed up “relationships” one could possibly conceive that both lasted maybe a week or two each, and even the most recent one of those was about 7 years ago now.

My autism-riddled brain just doesn’t “get” dating or relationship etiquette or anything of the sort. I mean, I’ve learned how to function in a workplace setting and among close friends, so it wouldn’t be impossible to learn these things (maybe?), I just have no idea where to even start. This also isn’t made any easier by the fact that my brain really doesn’t process romantic feelings at all so I’m more after a FWB that I’m best-ish friends with than an actual relationship, if that makes any sense whatsoever. It also REALLY isn’t made any easier by the fact that any time I check online dating sites I’m too old for easily like half the people I match with.

I’ve just sort of given up on having a social life and have become more or less a shut-in, but that’s really taking a toll on even my physical health at this point.

1 Like

Figuring out the “are things going fine or should I be doing something (and if so, what?)?” feelings when it comes to romantic relationships still cripples me. I know if I try too hard I’ll push people away, but I’ve never been great with the “just see how things go” tact for pretty much anything in life. I have plans/techniques to get through meetings with supervisors, for dealing with going out to dinner in public, etc. But it just seems crazy (or more so?) for romantic stuff so I’m just stuck, unable to gauge anything short of a total fuck up.

:tw: I talk about suicide and alcohol abuse :tw:

Hi I’m scurvy and I have the sads. Major depressive disorder with melancholic tendency to be more precise. I also have extreme ADD, anyone who has seen me on my computer to attest to this. I also have bouts of insomnia which is caused by who the hell knows.

I’ve gone through about 5 or so medications over the years. I was a Ritalin kid, which not only made me drop weight like a rock, it made me prone to violence, getting me kicked out of 2 schools.

School was about as well as it could’ve gone for someone who had absolutely zero social skills going into 5th grade. I got lucky since I mostly just kept to myself and more or less learned how to not be noticed.

College just completely broke me as a human and that was the first major blow up I had in almost 6 years, threatening homicide and suicide because of my unhinged mental state and perceived betrayal of the social circle I was in. It was all I had, since I was skipping my classes just so I could feel like a person who was liked.

As the years went on my outbursts turned more and more inward, turning to getting shitfaced whenever I could. It even affected my work since I had an hour lunch at the call center I was working at at the time, and I would go to one of the many bars, get drunk, and come back just to get through the shift. I realized that I couldn’t keep this up and got out of that job as soon as I could.

The last job I had was my first management job and I was not in the correct environment at all. I ended up attempting suicide via sleeping pills and alcohol. When they didn’t knock me out like I thought, I did the clearly best option possible, I drove to work and worked my shift, closing. At least I got a really good night’s sleep when I got home.

I am supposed to be on lexapro, but like the therapy I went to, it was short lived as I just couldn’t even care enough to go to therapy or take my meds. I was on them long enough to realize that I’m trans, which explains where some of that self loathing comes from.

I still suck at self care really hard, like… I don’t even feel comfortable sharing the details on how badly I neglect myself.

I also don’t think I’m capable of loving or being loved, outside of family and friends. I love them a lot. I mean like, romantic love. I think love would be nice, but I feel that I’m just too messed up to love someone or let them love me. I get attached super easy to women who show me any sort of positive emotion and it’s destroyed friendships. So I just try to keep it to a minimum if I can.

Pluses though, I don’t drink hardly at all anymore. Only socially, and I haven’t been wasted in over a year now. I’m pursuing my dream of voice acting, and I have a part time job that I don’t actively dread. I know I’m trans and when I have money I can get electrolysis to get rid of my facial hair. Can’t think of much else though.