All Up In My Mental: 2nd Perspective by Nicole Zimmermann

Monday, September 03, 2018

Hi, my name is Nicole Zimmermann. I am a 24-year-old model and college graduate (with my BA in psychology). Mental illness is something I am all too familiar with. Not only have I struggled with mental health issues of my own for literally as long as I can remember, but I have also grown up in a family plagued with mental illness. From anxiety to addiction to eating disorders, this is something I have been around and struggled with personally my whole life. With that said, I am very aware of the difficulty and frustration that comes along with being battling your own brain every single day. Unlike a physical illness, it is not something someone can see or experience with their senses, so it is a lot easier to just sweep it under the rug or ignore. And it is also easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re a burden or an outsider if you are the one who is personally struggling.

 My mental illness comes and goes in waves, but it is always there. And it is always finding new, sneaky ways of surfacing itself; always finding new ways of telling me I am not enough,that I can’t do it, and sabotaging all of the positive things in my life. It is a negative voice that disguises itself as reality and makes me believe that I am not worth it. Depression and anxiety are things that I have been dealing with as far back as I can remember, and they have always found a way to mature and stick with me as I mature; mental illness wears many different masks, and it does not discriminate. Some days I wake up and feel like I can conquer the world, and other times I can barely fathom getting out of bed. On the bad days, self-love and self-care are foreign to me and I let the negative voices devour me alive. Mental illness is a dirty, manipulating, liar.

 But perhaps the most frustrating thing about being plagued with mental illness is the stigma surrounding it and the way it is perceived, and even the way it is treated. We live in a society that is obsessed with the “physical”-- things you can see or touch. Mental illness is a disease of the mind, so many times people will tell you to “just get over it” or “stop being negative” because they cannot actually SEE it happening. But just like cancer, it is not something you can “just get over” without a tremendous amount of help and fighting. The danger of this is that the individual suffering from a mental disease often feels like a burden or feels the need to put on a constant front so that they can appear “normal.” When you are suffering from mental illness and then also have to constantly be lying to yourself and everyone around you, it can be dangerous. The person suffering feels lost and does not understand their disease and often will turn to outside substances to alleviate what they are feeling. When treated professionally, many individuals suffering mentally will be prescribed medications that leave them in a zombie-like state of mind or medications that they become highly dependent on, which oftentimes leaves them worse off than they were to begin with; it is a vicious cycle, to say the least.

But with all of this said, individuals struggling with diseases of the mind are some of the strongest in the world and mental illness does not have to be fatal or all-consuming. Many mentally ill individuals find creative ways of channeling and their pain and inspiring others and are also extremely resilient in a way that only someone battling against their own brain every single day can be resilient. There are a vast number of individuals who lead normal and even extremely successful lives once they find ways to deal with it. And although treatment for mental disorders is not taken as seriously as other illnesses, there are still a number of ways to treat it, and I believe that recently there has been more light shed on the subject matter which will hopefully lead to people realizing the utmost importance of treating it.

 You are NOT alone.
& you WILL get through this-- especially if you are willing to ask for help.
& you will come out STRONGER & more INSPIRING than ever.

follow Nicole and her story here: @nicole_zimmermann

** If you need a refresher on what this series is all about, take a look at this post here.
* If you'd like to take part in this series, anonymously or openly, please take a look at the survey here or feel free to reach out to me directly via my contact form.

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