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Living with Mental Illness

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

I debated whether or not to post this.

I have anxiety and depression.

Let me paint you a picture:

When anxiety hits me, it’s not just a feeling of stress or uneasiness. My heart rate skyrockets, my body trembles, my breathing shallows and heaves at the same time and my heart beats out of my chest. I sob. And whenever I quit crying, I remember that I was upset and I start sobbing again. I think that nobody likes me and I don’t add value anywhere and that I am replaceable. When my mind plays these tricks on me, all I know is that I have no purpose.

When depression sets in, I can’t make myself care about anything. The things I KNOW I love don’t matter to me anymore. I sleep all day and can’t get myself to eat or shower adequately. Everything is a chore. But even when I do get up and out of the house, it can hit me in a wave again and that dark cloud is back. A lot of times I don’t even feel anything at all. The absence of feeling is what feels bad.

It’s peculiar though. I am usually the most bubbly, positive person in any room and people like being around me. They would never know that I’m struggling. I look like I have it all together, but my mind is at war with myself. Nasty, demonizing talk is happening up there and I’m my own bully. I wonder if it’s worth it to keep trying. But for some reason, I always do.

So there it is. It’s out there now for anyone in the whole world to know. When people find out, they usually have one of two responses. It’s either “WOW you are so brave for sharing” or they look at me with sad eyes and tell me to “hang in there”. I appreciate the sentiments; I really do. It’s just that it doesn’t help.

If you struggle with mental illnesses in any form, you know what I’m talking about. You want to get better. Some days you try every trick in the book. Some days, it’s enough just to feed yourself. No matter how hard you try or how many people tell you “don’t worry!” or “don’t be sad!”, it’s there. Mental illnesses are always with you. And all you know is that you feel bad.

You will undoubtedly go through many seasons of growth in your life. Some are grueling and uncomfortable and you just have to keep telling yourself to get through another day. But some are effortless and bright and you have so much joy that you could shoot sunbeams out of your eyes. Either way, there is beauty in your growth and brighter days are coming.

I will always believe that mental health is the most important to take care of. And I will always believe that the battles we face and conquer make us so, so strong. If the only thing you can manage to do is remember to brush your teeth that day, to me, you are trying and you are succeeding.

Mental illness does not make you weak.

It doesn’t make you any less than anybody else.

You are deserving of peace.

You are deserving of getting help.

You are not a burden.

You have value.

You are loved.

Remember that.

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