Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, etc., I just want to start off by saying: I am so proud of you. No one understands what it is like to live with a mental illness unless they are struggling with one. No one understands what it's like to wake up in the morning and have to get yourself in the right mindset just to get out of bed to start your day. They don't understand how difficult it is to juggle class, homework, studying, working part-time or full-time job, and trying to be social while battling with the voices in your head telling you that you are a failure or that you're not good enough. Being an honor student my entire life and struggling with anxiety and depression, I know what the pressure is like. I understand the days where you just want to scream because you can't take it anymore and you just want to give in. I know what it's like to be in one of those "funks" and not want to do anything yet needing to be so "perfect," that I'm never able to allow myself just take a breath and slack off a bit for my own sanity.
I remember being asked to write a paper in high school one day about what is worse-- physical or emotional pain. I immediately knew the answer, as I was dealing with anxiety and depression and had broken my leg years ago. With physical pain you can take medicine or go to the doctors to get a cast put on your broken bone and it will heal within 8 to 12 weeks. But with emotional pain it's a lot harder than that; It's the kind of pain that doesn't just go away within 8 to 12 weeks. It's the kind of pain that lies within you and eats at you every single day and night, year after year. It's when the racing thoughts are so bad that they keep you up all night when you have class in the morning; they are the absolute worst. You're alone and it's quiet but in your head, your thoughts are screaming and abusing you for all the things you did and didn't do. You cry silently realizing how lonely you are and how much pain you're in and try to reach out but no one really understands. You become isolated and exhausted from fighting this war inside of you. The pain and sadness ruin you and it takes the fun you once had with friends and the love you have for your family, away. The sadness doesn't only settle into your body, it completely takes over every part of you. Even when you're happy, the sadness is still there, lurking throughout your body, just waiting.... waiting to show itself— yet again. You may have a good day where you're in such a great mood but that doesn't mean everything is better; the sky is still grey, but there's just no rain today.
People don't understand mental illness unless you've experienced it for theirselves or watched someone suffer from it. You have to fake so many smiles just so everyone thinks you have it all together when in reality, you don't... That's when it eats at you the most. You get so sad, you completely shut down and you feel like you're at the end of the rope that you've been holding onto forever; you don't tell anyone because you think that they don't care. As you lay awake at night the question, "Will it get better?" runs through your mind and at first it feels like it never will, but in a way it does. It gets easier. The darkness becomes lighter and you begin to have better days. You start to learn to fight the thoughts in your head and push them aside for a little while because you realize that YOU are in control and not your mental illness. Mental illness has shown me the strength that I have inside of myself that I never knew I'd have unless I went through the battles that I did. I am not ashamed of it, but instead I am thankful every day that I am alive because it has given me a purpose to help those who feel that there is not light at the end of the tunnel. I am so proud of anyone who is still here fighting with me. Life is tough, but so are we.