Mental illness is not easy. Not only are you dealing with an incredibly hard life, but people often don't respond to "I have anxiety and it's hard for me to speak up in class often" as nicely as they do "I'm losing my voice and can't present today." I will not speak for everyone, but I know this has been my experience.
People don't understand the sudden blank stare my eyes get or the reason why I suddenly get up to go to the bathroom and come back with red eyes. I don't even understand it myself. I just know that I feel sad, empty, useless and bored. I don't care about school sometimes and I don't want to take the time to shower. I've lost who I am and I don't know how to find it.
Then I get nervous. I don't like walking in front of people, speaking my ideas, or taking tests. My grades have suffered due to lack of participation or poor test grades. I'm always worrying about something and sometimes cry over the simplest things like having to order food or talk on the phone. I get nervous talking to my friends parents or my parents' friends. When something more traumatic happens, like a fight with my boyfriend or a call I got recently that my dog was very sick, I feel like someone is choking me. I struggle to find air and these panic attacks are hard to control on my own if nobody is there to calm me down or distract me. My heart feels like it's beating out of my chest.
I latch on to anyone who will pay attention to me because I feel so desperate to be liked. I assume I annoy everyone I meet and that they automatically dislike me. I make mistakes just like everyone else except I linger on them for months, sometimes even years, after the mistakes were made. I trust people who hurt me over and over and I'm too busy thinking I don't deserve, or won't find, anything better to try to do right by me. Insults sometimes go right through me because I've never heard one that's worse than how I've already felt about myself. I've been in too many destructive friendship to count.
Though anxiety and depression have been experienced in my family, I never thought much of them. I realized I couldn't live my life like this and talked to my doctor about how I had been feeling. She diagnosed me with both GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and persistent depressive disorder. When I got home to tell my mom I cried and told her I was really messed up. She reassured me that this was normal and that the medicine I was prescribed would make me feel better. It didn't.
My GPA dipped lower than ever and it made me angry at myself. My doctor decided to give me a stronger dose of the medicine which I just began taking. I try to fake feeling normal but half the time I want to cry into my pillow or just want someone to hug me. People rarely understand why I crave affection so much but sometimes I feel like hugs make me feel like a normal person again. Just a reassurance that someone doesn't mind my presence.
I'm not trying to gather pity or make anyone feel like I'm too delicate to handle life, but rather I'm trying to bring awareness to what really goes on in a life like this. Some people in my life just don't understand how hard living like this is for me so I hope to paint a better picture of what my life can be like sometimes. People often don't know, or sometimes don't care, enough about what people go through. Just because there are no bandages around my head shouldn't undermine the reality that my mind is not 100% healthy.