What mental health really looks like

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Senior Katlyn Owens opens up about her mental health.

Katlyn Owens, Writer

I have anxiety and ADHD; along with these comes hyper fixation and RSD (Rejection Sympathetic Dysphoria). Hyper fixation meanthat I cannot like something a normal amount; I obsess over any current interest I have and my brain spirals until it is all I think or talk about. RSD is a disorder that makes people more sensitive to what others may say or think about them. It is most common in individuals with ADHD but its symptoms can be confused with Bipolar disorder, BPD (borderline personality disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), depression, and social phobia. 

Hyper fixation has caused me to not watch near as many cartoons or anime as I’d like to, and I constantly worry that when I start to talk about my current obsession that I’m annoying my friends. My current obsession is Thomas Sanders, more specifically his series Sanders Sides, along with digital art. I tend to get lost in my art, forgetting time and where I’m at until someone snaps me out of it and reminds me to take a break. Hyper fixation, or hyper focus as mental health professionals call it, is not necessarily a terrible thing to have. It helps so many people cope and distract themselves from unpleasant realities. Hyper fixation helps me personally by being able to escape into a different universe and ignore any triggers that could upset me.  

RSD is something I have only recently learned about but the more I read into it, the more emotional I get. I feel like there is finally an explanation for how I react to any situation that isnt ‘you’re crazy’, or ‘you’re too sensitive and overreacting.’ Dysphoria is a Greek word that means “difficult to bear,” like how RSD is a disorder that makes rejection and criticism difficult to handle. RSD episodes are sudden and don’t give much of a warning but whether they are internalized or externalized, they can cause extreme emotional distressNo matter how small or inconsequential you may think what you say is, I’ll still over analyze and make the worst of it. 

No matter how much my friends tell me Im not a bother and thewon’t leave, I still worry. I’ve had friends leave too often after saying the same things that it makes it hard to completely believe those words anymore. Making friends is easy, right? Wrong. I start to talk and get close to someone and then slowly start to back away for fear of them leaving after they get to see the real meI want to have close friends, I really do, but the thought of getting close to someone anymore terrifies me. To put it into perspective, I treat friendships how most treat romantic relationships, and when they end it shatters me 

If you don’t take anything from this, remember this. Not everyone takes things the same as you do, so be mindful of how you talk and what you say. Your humor, while it may be funny to you and those close to you, may be offensive or triggering to someone else. Just because someone may look neurotypical doesn’t mean they are. Neurodivergence doesn’t have a look, so try to erase the stereotypes you’ve been told about mental disorders and what they look like.