People lie about everything on the internet — even mental illness

A doll’s face with lots of small cracks running through it
A doll’s face with lots of small cracks running through it
Photo by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash

A young person looks into the camera, and then looks away, as though uncomfortable. They bite a fingernail as a distorted sound plays over the video. The sound moves to a crescendo of audial discomfort and the young person stares blankly into space, before shaking themselves off and smiling at the camera. A caption appears, informing the viewer that a new ‘alter’ has overtaken their body and introduces them by name.

This may sound like a description of a cheap TV movie, or someone who is cosplaying their original characters, but the person in this video, like many posted on…

All you need is a streaming account or two

A pyramid of televisions showing the same blurred image in different colours.
A pyramid of televisions showing the same blurred image in different colours.
Photo by Murai .hr on Unsplash

In an ideal world, we would all be open about our mental health, ill or otherwise, everyone would have access to therapy and support, and taking care of mental health would be as easy as physical health. As we all know, it isn’t that simple.

There are many free and low-cost things that we can do to look after our mental health. Regular exercise, time with friends and family, engaging in hobbies, all help. The trouble is, these activities are all much easier to keep up when your mental health is in a positive place. The worse you feel, the…

Why it matters that we don’t all show our emotions in the same way

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

When you work in mental health, a big part of the job is assessing the mental state of other people. I work in a crisis response role, but I’m not a doctor or a therapist. We’re just people, helping other people. Anyone struggling with their mental health can telephone or walk-in and we’ll do our best to help them. This may mean giving them a safe space to talk, to call someone, to get information about other services. This potentially includes people with whom we have very little experience, so making judgments about how they’re feeling is tricky.

We need…

Living in a straight world all my life, I’ve noticed a lot, and it’s not pretty

As much as we might like to pretend that none of us is all that unique and there’s no need for us to let any part of our identities define us, there are some aspects of ourselves that cannot be overlooked. As a lesbian and a proud member of the LGBT+ community, I could argue that there aren’t all that many differences between myself and a straight woman. Except when it comes to relationships, I’m often reminded that there are some gaping chasms between us.

Before you rush to cement your ally-ship, there are specific differences that I’ve noticed, primarily…

Somewhere I belong — my first fan convention

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

When I bought my first ticket to an L-Con, I cried.

I would be going to a convention dedicated to my favorite show — The L Word. Most importantly, I would meet some of the stars, people who had a huge impact on my life through their work. It would be three days of events, including Q&A sessions with the stars, signings in which we could speak to them (very briefly) one-to-one, and a chance to get our photos taken with them. Ten minutes earlier, I hadn’t known that conventions for fans of The L Word even existed, I thought they were reserved for sci-fi and fantasy shows. It was only…

Exploring the differences between chronic mental illness, personality disorders, and neurological conditions.

An x-ray of a brain
An x-ray of a brain
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

Ever since receiving a formal Autism diagnosis last year, I’ve been enjoying being able to immerse myself in the Neurodiverse community without a feeling of guilt, without that nagging little voice in my head telling me I didn’t really belong there. It isn’t that I believe individuals from different communities shouldn’t enjoy content from each other, far from it. I think having grown up with the feeling I didn’t belong, well, anywhere, it was hard to believe this might be a place that I did in fact fit. It’s a wonderful, varied community, filled with amazing people, after all.



One of my missing pieces may just offer the help that you need.

Credit to Diego PH via Unsplash

A ll my life I have suffered from Anxiety in different forms – OCD Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety, Social Anxiety, et al. It is only recently, after a long journey, that I now know that I am on the Autism Spectrum.

The fact that I have only learned this now at 32 years old means that I am constantly learning things about myself that are caused by my Autism, rather than my prior way of thinking that things were just different about me.

Prior to my awareness of my Autism, I either assumed I had normal personal quirks. …

Tips on some very difficult conversations

Credit to Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash

It isn’t an easy topic, self-harm. Out of all of the mental health-related difficult topics, it’s pretty high up the list there. Consider it for a moment, how do you feel about talking to someone about self-harm? It isn’t something that comes up often, but if a loved one came to you with questions or needing advice, how would you handle it? If it’s something you have experience of, you might feel fairly comfortable with it, but if you don’t, you may feel a bit lost.

It isn’t possible to prepare for all eventualities. If I could prepare you for…

Just because it isn’t a medical term, doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful one.

Credit to nrd via Unsplash

It’s a term you’ve probably heard thrown around often — a nervous breakdown. Yet oddly, it isn’t a term used in the world of mental health. It was used more in the past, but even then it wasn’t a medical term as such. To figure it out, let’s first look at the ‘nervous’ part of it.

The idea of it being a nervous breakdown stems from the time when the words neurotic and psychotic were used more broadly and were considered polar opposites. A person who is experiencing high levels of paranoia and delusions, amongst other symptoms, would be considered…

Why a panic attack doesn’t look the way you think

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

If you haven’t experienced a panic attack yourself, it can be very difficult to imagine what one looks and feels like. The name is somewhat deceptive. We all know what panic feels like, right?

‘Did I leave the oven on?’ ‘Did I turn off my hair straighteners?’

That bolt of adrenaline through your body as these thoughts jump, uninvited, into your mind. Then, you either run back to check if you’re close enough or reassure yourself that you did turn it off. Once it’s dealt with, you likely won’t think about it again. …

Sarah McManus MSc

Sarah McManus is a UK based writer of mental health articles. She recently completed an MSc in Psychology and is working on her first non-fiction book.

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