Mental illness is not a joke. Psychological disorders are very serious and very real for many people, including those you come in contact with throughout your day.
suffered from clinical depression since I was 14 years old. For
Depression is not something to make light of or underestimate. For years, I have lived with an extra weight in my mind, with extra voices in my mind screaming at me nonstop about how I'm not good enough, how I'm not pretty or funny enough, how I can't do anything right, how nobody likes me. These thoughts, as well as many others, are repeated thousands of times a day in my mind.
On some mornings, my body seemingly cannot muster up the strength to get out of bed. When doing homework, I have no motivation to even begin, because all I can think about is how I will fail. I sit at home for hours trying to convince myself that I should get up and then only wondering what the point is. For years now, I go to sleep and wake up mentally and emotionally exhausted. I am lethargic to the point that I feel as though I lack any emotional or physical capability whatsoever. Some days, I loathe myself so entirely that even catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror is enough to make me begin spiraling downward in a tornado of self-hatred.
I have found that people like other happy people, or at least people who seem to be happy. I have found it is easier to paint a smile on my face in front of people as opposed to letting the walls down and letting them in. If I can't be happy, maybe I can at least make someone else a little bit happy. That's why humor has become my shield. Just so long as I paint a happy face, and have the ability to make the people around me laugh, then I must have some worth.
The hardest part for me is believing there is more to life than this darkness I've been in—that there is light beyond it. Each morning when I wake up, I try to think of one thing to look forward to either that day or in the near future. I try to remind myself that there is a reason I’m still here, a reason I’ve survived this long. We are all on this Earth for a reason. While that reason may be skewed and seemingly impossible to find, I promise that you have worth in the world. You are a meaningful person and somebody loves you and cares for you. So whenever you get the chance, remind your friends that you love them, give a stranger a smile, and be kind; everyone is facing a battle of some sort.
Mental illness is not a joke. It's a very real and complex issue that is facing billions of people, including some of my peers reading this right now.
As a society, we need to talk more openly about mental health disorders and reassure people that they are not alone. It gets better, I promise.