Here is the second of two blog entries by Lisa M. Cronkhite, author of the just-released YA mystery, Disconnected, the second title to be released by The Poisoned Pencil . This wildly original book is a walk through the mind of a seventeen-year-old who suffers in silence from mental illness, and her search for the answers to the mysteries–both real and psychological–that shape her life. Here Lisa shares information for teens who suffer in silence from mental illness.

Lisa! You have the floor!

Having a mental illness does not mean you’re a leper or that you should be treated as one.  It’s very much like any other type of chronic illness, such as diabetes.  Although taking medication won’t be the cure, it will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Things that help maintain my illness for me are keeping up with my daily routines like getting up everyday around the same time, getting adequate sleep and eating a balanced diet.  On the days I don’t get enough sleep or eat too much or too little, I start to feel off.  These are all warning signs that I’m becoming manic or majorly depressed.

Some of the warning signs and symptoms kids and teens may be suffering from a mental illness are:  inability to cope with problems and daily activity, changes in sleeping and or eating habits, excessive complaints of physical ailments, fear of weight gain, prolonged negative moods followed by loss of appetite or frequent outbursts of anger. Most of these are behavioral issues, but there are signs we can detect within ourselves to help with prevention and awareness.  Signs such as sadness, anxiety, guilt, helplessness, self-blame, confusion, and or thoughts of suicide are all signs you may be suffering from a mental illness.  By detecting these signs early on you can help prevent the onside of an episode or outburst.  More important, you can help avoid harming yourself or someone else.

Now granted, on any normal given day any teen can have one or more of these symptoms.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental illness.  But if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a daily basis, it may be time to seek medical attention.  Again, talking to someone is crucial and expressing your feelings is absolutely normal.  Always remember whatever it is you’re struggling with in life, you are not alone and that there is in fact help out there.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Any Disorder Among Children: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_CHILD.shtml

Mental Health America (MHA), Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/recognizing-warning-signs

Community Psychiatric Clinic, Common Signs and Symptoms of Major Mental Illnesses : http://www.cpcwa.org/InformationAndResources/misigns.html

 http://www.healthyplace.com/forum/

For more reading material on mental illness please refer to my blog:

http://www.writingsbylisamcronkhite.blogspot.com/2014/05/go-green-and-celebrate-national-mental.html