Viral Thread Brilliantly Answers One Of The Most Common Questions About Mental Illness

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The taboo around mental health is crumbling, albeit slowly, and it is largely thanks to the work of mental health advocates and people who have been open about sharing their own struggles with mental health conditions.

But while the mental and emotional toll of living with a condition like anxiety, depression, or bipolar (quite rightly) gets a lot of attention, the physical symptoms can sometimes be forgotten. 

PJ Palits, an art director and mental health advocate based in the Philippines, wants things to change. So she took to Twitter to explain why living with a mental illness can be so, well, draining. 

The original post is from January but it has gone viral for the second time, racking up more than 60,000 likes and 40,000 retweets – as well as hundreds of comments thanking Palits for summing up the experience so damn well. And while it may not be true for everyone living with a mental health condition – after all, no two people are the same – much of it is pretty spot on.

So, here we go.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly half of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their life but the real figure could be much higher. A 2017 study found that as many as 83 percent of us may experience some form of mental illness in our lifetime.

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According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people take between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep but, as Palits points out, it can take much longer if you have a mental health condition.

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As Palits explains here, fatigue is not the only physical symptom of anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. Migraines, nausea, digestive troubles, and an impaired immune system (which makes contracting the flu or a cold more likely) are just a handful of ways these conditions can express themselves physically. 

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If you have a friend who is suffering, the most important thing, Palits says, is to be patient and empathetic. 

This is not the first time Palits has spoken about mental health issues through the medium of Twitter – some of her other threads include what it is like to have depression and what NOT to say to someone with the condition.

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