Today is my 30th birthday. It feels big and small at the same time.
On the one hand, it feels like just another year, and just because both numbers in my age have changed isn’t really cause for a huge thing. On the other hand, it’s nice to finally kiss my 20s goodbye. While there were some awesome things about my 20s, I will always remember it as a decade filled with a lot of worry, uncertainty, longing, and anxiety (imagine that). I spent a lot of time wishing I were somewhere else, or someone else, or that this one person would just see things the way I do. Most of my energy went into always making sure I looked like I was fine even when under the surface I was barely keeping my shit together.
To be honest, that still happens, and I don’t expect it to stop anytime soon(the hiding how I feel, not wishing I was somewhere/one else; I’m pretty happy with who I am and there is no way I would be anywhere else when I have such a supportive and loving partner and family, blood or not). I’m noticing more and more that, while I still experience the worry, etc. of my 20s, it feels totally different because my reaction to and treatment of it has changed. I don’t spend nearly as much time in my own head wishing for things or rehearsing conversations that will never happen or imagining how things could be better. Part of that is because things are better, but part of it is also that I have a lot more gratitude for simple things that I did before I started having panic attacks. Being curled up on the floor of a strange bathroom asking yourself “Who am I?” is not exactly fun, but I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would have been without support from those I love, or the means to get treatment, or the ability to research what was happening to me and discover I wasn’t alone. I am so thankful I didn’t have to go through that experience bereft of not only my sense of self, but basic amenities and emotional support.
So, to that end, here are some mental health non-profits that specifically target individuals with mental health issues who are also struggling with housing, obtaining treatment, etc. I encourage you to add them to your list for year-end giving, or if you’ve enjoyed reading this blog or found it helpful, consider making a donation.
- Fountain House, which provides housing, health/wellness, and employment support for folks dealing with mental illness.
- The National Alliance on Mental Health, which has strong advocacy, education, and awareness programs for mental health.
- The Bridge, which offers a huge array of treatment services.
- The Door, where my awesome sister worked for years and which offers comprehensive services – from counseling and crisis intervention to housing support to mental and physical health – to youth, in particular runaway/LGBTQ young people.