What does it feel like to have a mental illness?
Every person has a different experience, but here is mine.
Mental illness is a type of monster that wants nothing more than to isolate you, torture you, belittle you, and test you.
Mental illness will make you doubt yourself more than anyone else ever could, causing your own self worth to diminish with every word spoken from your mind.
Mental illness will keep you up at night. You think about every single thing that has ever happened to you, you think about and play out scenarios that never even happened, and you question every choice that you have ever made.
Mental illness will make you feel like you are in a world of euphoria, where you have never-ending energy and you can take on anything that comes your way. If you wanted to, you could save the world with your love, positivity, and energy. You can spend hours exercising, deep cleaning, calling and texting all of your friends and family, and not feel anything but extraordinary. You could quite literally do anything and everything, and you try to because you feel so good. But then, you crash. You spend eighteen hours in bed sleeping despite your partner trying to wake you up. You ignore phone calls and texts because you don’t have it in you to speak to another soul. When you do wake up, you’re a shell of a human being that just does the bare minimum to keep your body alive because at that moment your spirit is gone. This can last for as little as a day, or even months. You never know.
Mental illness is either eating too little or too much.
Mental illness is watching videos at four in the morning on “at home stick and poke tattoos” and considering buying the equipment yourself because you could “easily do that!”
Mental illness is wanting to tell your friends and family that you are sinking into a low but you’re too afraid to tell them because they go through this with you all of the time. Also, they sometimes throw your mental illness in your face when they are displeased with you.
Mental illness is staring at the scars on your body that you gave yourself and hoping with everything that you have that you won’t pick up that blade again.
Mental illness is knowing what is happening to you but not having any control over it.
Mental illness is taking medication and having a therapist because life would be awful without those things.
Mental illness is relying on animals to bring you a glimmer of happiness and a sense of calm.
Mental illness is living past memories so vividly that you have to remind yourself that those memories are in the past and you are safe right now.
Mental illness is constantly having to listen to people tell you to “grow up” or “deal with it” or “snap out of it.”
Mental illness is sobbing in the shower or on the floor of your bedroom because you can’t stop thinking of the worst.
Mental illness is a curse. It’s a sickness that eats away at you. It is always there, taunting you in the background just so you know that it is still there and can hurt you at any time.
If you know someone with mental illness, please take it seriously. Ask them what they need. Make them tea, put on their favorite movie, give them their favorite book, make them their favorite food. Do whatever you can to make them feel loved and cared for and valued because when they are in a low they can’t see how incredible they are. The pain is unbearable, and even a tiny bit of effort and love from the people around them could quite literally save their life.