A Breakup Letter To My Mental Illness

A Breakup Letter To My Mental Illness

Hey, we need to talk.
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Wow. I think writing that headline took ten years off my life. My heart started racing, my anxiety deciding to come out to play while I wrote this. I suppose I've always wanted to pretend that my brain functions normally, that my hormone levels are where they're supposed to be, and that I have never had a problem getting out of bed. So, here it goes. The breakup letter with my mental illness.

Hey, we need to talk.

We've been together for a while - we first met in eighth grade, and I was too young. You took advantage of a child, wrapped me into your lies at an age where I was so impressionable. You convinced me that numb was normal, that I was all those things I feared - fat, ugly, worthless, and that no one would care about the things I had to say. You took a girl who used to be so outgoing and turned her into someone who was shy, awkward, nervous around even herself. You became my old paint under the new, a piece of me I could never quite shake, even when you decided to take a break from me. You would release me just long enough for me to get a taste of normalcy, and suck me back in.

You were moderately contained through high school. You'd creep back onto my shoulder for about a week, and get bored again, burrowing yourself deeper and deeper inside my soul. You would make me anxious when I hadn't heard from you in awhile - what horrible, terrible thing was coming my way?

And then, all of a sudden, your interest in me became insatiable, and there was nothing I could do to keep the black hole of your presence at bay. So here's where the meat of this letter comes in: Fuck you. You came into my life in a whirlwind, destroying everything in your path this past autumn. You turned a lively, happy and excited college kid into a phantom of who she was once - uninterested, empty, and overall deep into a pit of despair where the light at the top could no longer be seen. I couldn't get out of bed, couldn't take care of myself, couldn't stop crying and feeling the aches of your presence in every bone in my body. I was in some state beyond empty - I felt the emptiness and numbness deep inside my bones, my soul. I thought I would never see the light again, and old habits came back, biting harder than they ever did before. Do you know how soul crushing it is, crying on the floor of your nasty dorm shower at 4 am because you are so terrified to sleep? Of course, you do; you caused it all. You rooted yourself deeper than ever, telling me every few minutes that no one cared, nothing mattered, that this was the life you were doomed to live. What was the point of fighting you? You'd win every time - sucking me back into the black hole of my bed.

And in a moment of strength greater than I ever thought possible, I dragged my haven't-showered-since-before-Vietnam ass to the doctor, and sat in a chair and cried to some man I had met four minutes earlier as he told me that he had never seen a depression index score this high on anyone who hadn't tried to kill themselves. Imagine hearing that. He wrote some words on a small piece of paper, and I began the long, exhausting and frustrating road to breaking up with you, to leaving you behind. And you grasped my shoulders, dug in, trying to prevent me from being the person I used to be.

But here's the thing: you don't own me anymore. You don't get to choose my moods, my relationships, my self-worth. You don't even get to define me anymore. You are the burden I will always have to bear, but I cannot allow you control over me. This is my life, this is my choice - I don't want to be a person who has no control, who can't even get out of bed, let alone stop crying. I want to live this life to its fullest, and I can't do that with you on my shoulder.

I suppose I do have to thank you. Thank you for showing me the inner strength I always had, for showing me the people who will love me for my relationship with you, not in spite of it. Furthermore, thank you for showing the relationship with God I desperately craved, for showing me that there is something worth believing in, especially when you can't quite believe in yourself yet. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better friend, a more compassionate and caring person, and someone with empathy.

But you owe me an apology. You have taken so much from me, having taught me early on that protest is pointless. You have robbed me of social opportunities, of feelings (whether positive or negative), and from fully living this one life I've been given. You have tainted the memories of the greatest times of my life with shadows of you, confirming all of my worst fears and insecurities. You have made me harm myself in every way a person can harm themselves, and you celebrated me for it. These are all parts of me I will never be able to take back, things that will never fade in my heart, on my body, and in my memory. I will have those horrible moments engrained in my mind forever, and that alone warrants an apology.

I'd tell you good luck and I'll see you around, but I hope no one has to experience you, this horrible combination of hormone deficiencies because you suck so bad, and I hope I never feel you creeping up on me, because you'll recieve a swift punch to the face.

Sincerely,

Kate

Cover Image Credit: Kate Marlette

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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How To Survive Your First Flu At ISU

Being away from your parents can be tough when you get sick, but here's a short how-to guide of what to do when you catch the flu.

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Going away to college can be tough, especially if you're used to being at home and having someone to take care of you when you get sick. Now I don't know about the rest of you but when I get sick I turn into a needy childish mess of a person who wants her mom to make her soup and bring her juice and medicine. But, being about a two-hour drive away from home I can no longer rely on my mom to take care of me. So, you would assume that my first option is to just lay in bed and sleep all day until I don't feel sick anymore. Unfortunately, I have tried that, and I can assure you that it's not a valid way to get better anytime soon. So, in this article, I am going to explain how you can get healthy quicker and skip fewer classes.

Step one to any sickness is staying hydrated, you should drink a lot of water, tea, and juice. The water helps flush toxins out of your body, the tea helps soothe your sore throat, and the juice provides vitamins and antioxidants. You will need all of these things in order to feel better as soon as possible.

Step two is to stay in bed and sleep, getting rest can help your body heal a lot quicker than you think. It's not a good thing to skip classes but if you can skip a class and use that time to rest and heal you won't have to skip as many classes in the future because of a sickness that lasts for multiple days or even weeks.

Step three is to remember to eat, when you feel achy and sore from being sick and laying in bed you will not want to go get food but it's important to remember to eat when you're sick especially things like hot soup and crackers. Even if you feel absolutely terrible you have to remember to eat, which might mean asking your roommate to bring you a to-go box and offering to repay the favor at a later time.

Step four is to take a nice hot shower, the steam from the hot water can help open up your sinuses which will relieve your runny or stuffy nose as well as relieving your sore throat.

Step five is remembering to email your professors and let them know that you are sick, this will help you to keep up in your classes and prevent your grades from dropping due to absence. Another helpful tip is to text a friend from your class to get a copy of the notes from class.

Hopefully, this short article will help you to handle your first serious sickness away from home, and if you're still feeling sick after trying all of these things make sure you schedule an appointment at the student health center located in the student health services building across the street from the Bone Student center.

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