​An Open Letter to my Mental Illnesses
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​An Open Letter to my Mental Illnesses

You do not define me.

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​An Open Letter to my Mental Illnesses

To My Illnesses: Depression, Anxiety, & ADHD,

First thing's first; you and I are not the same. You are a legitimate part of me that I simply can't get rid of. I can take all the meds in the world and you would only be suppressed and internalized even more. And I don't want to do that. As much as I deeply and heavily dislike you, I don't entirely hate you.

Depression— you exhaust me. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Because of you, I don't sleep enough, I sleep too much, I don't eat enough, I eat too much, but after a ton of hyperventilation and a few deep breaths, I've learned to accept you. I've learned to accept the sleepless nights and the countless tears; I've learned to accept who you are and why you are. You're more than just a chemical imbalance in my brain, and I vow to treat you as such, however, you're slowly killing me and I simply ask for you to show the slightest remorse. Your burden has become too heavy for me to hold. The tears that you give me are simply not worth anything at all; you are not worthy of my time, my patience, and the almost constant distress. I would like to say, however, you have become a huge piece of me. You have made me struggle for eight years, and I want to provide as much clearance as possible; you are not going to win this. Regardless of the matter that you are nothing but an inconvenience to my everyday life, you've changed me, and I would like to give you the benefit of doubt for that. Because of you, I am now a stronger woman, I now uphold the capability to live a life more freely, to talk about my feelings without the expense of involuntary tears, to move on and to better myself. And for that, I express my greatest thanks to you.

Anxiety— you, too, exhaust me. You may exhaust me more than my depression does. But the difference between you two is that depression is unconditional, but you— you're different, and you know that. Because if you're not getting the attention you want, you will find a way to make me hyper-focus on nothing else but you. For years, I have let you control me; my choices, my friends, and even my hobbies. Yet, when I let you take over, I still get all the wrong answers. You've affected me on a more personal level, beyond my understanding. You've damaged relationships I've had, you've made it more than difficult to form new ones, and you continue to thrive off of my pain by killing any motivation I have. However, I am at a point where you have a huge disadvantage when you actually should be winning; I started college, double majoring nonetheless, I'm wrapping up the first semester and I've only made three friends, I've second-guessed millions of times whether or not college is right for me, but here's the twist; I have accepted every second of it. I've accepted stressing when I don't know why I do, I've accepted the fact that it's almost impossible to find friends, I've accepted the migraines and the nausea you create. Society may reject you, but I do not; you have a voice, too, and it deserves to be heard and listened to.

ADHD— I dislike you the least, but that does not mean, under any circumstance, that I like you in any way. You make school so hard, and you have been consistently for as long as I can remember. And speaking of memory, you are so damn selective; you can remember where I sat in a restaurant I've only been to once, but you can't remember what homework I need to do. I will admit, you do give me a little bit of light; you are the only one of the three that actually adds to my personality. You make me act on impulses, but some of them I don't mind, but you always fail to recognize potential consequences. Although you're extremely unpredictable, you're not entirely awful, you're just bearable; manageable, if you will. I don't love nor hate you— I am indifferent about you and your intentions. The problem with you is that I thought I'd outgrow you by now, but you're pretty stubborn and honestly a bit clingy. Before you came along, I was a gifted student; I was motivated, driven, and ambitious, and I'm still all of those things, but it's now diluted to the point where the value of these things no longer holds the same value they once did. I'll admit, you give me a little bit of life. You always keep me on my toes, and because of that, I really never know what to expect. Living with you is like listening to elevator music on loop, occasionally interrupted by a deafening electric guitar solo, except the soloist doesn't know when to stop the solo because the sheet music got lost somewhere. But, because of you, I have more intense emotions; I feel more than the average person does; I love harder and hate more aggressively. You're so unpredictable, but that makes you exciting. You are a constant thrill and a rollercoaster for a lifetime, and my hands are way up high.

See you soon,

Emily

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