An Open Letter To Those Struggling With Mental Illness
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An Open Letter To Those Struggling With Mental Illness

I think you're a genius.

An Open Letter To Those Struggling With Mental Illness
Maverick Thill

Dear Reader,

First of all, you are strong. So strong, so amazing, and so wonderful. I know, it's hard to accept that, but that is a fact. You couldn't be more enough than you already are. You are special and original and unique, and never, ever alone. Take pride in the fact that you have the strength to read this.

I want to thank you for being alive and contributing your awesomeness to the world, because frankly we need it; we need you. I want to thank you for throwing those blankets off and getting out of bed every day, as hard as that can be. I want to thank you for taking the extra energy to smile and socialize, as difficult as it is. I want to thank you for being the most caring and empathetic people in the world, because you really are.

I know it can be hard to find someone to talk to; you feel as if no one will understand, or you'll scare them, or that you're bothering them, or that no one cares. But you're not a bother, they do care, and they will get scared because they love you. But you're not alone, you are never alone. Ever.

I know the struggle of going to school or work, smiling and saying everything is fine when truthfully it's not. Or not being able to even get out of bed because you're feeling so awful. I know how it feels to hold in your feelings until you explode, then feeling hollow and numb. Or rather, never holding in your feelings and always having them pour out, feeling like you have no self control.

I know how frustrating it gets when people tell you to “just smile,” “just pray,” “be happy,” “people are worse off than you,” “don't worry about the past/future,” or “let it go".

I know it hurts to bring up this conversation; especially when people try to minimise the intensity of your emotions and their affects on you. Or worse; when people try to justify your actions by saying you're trying to “seek attention.”

I know how easy it is to want to please everyone but yourself. You will bend over backwards and flip upside down for everyone, but why not yourself? You deserve it as much as anyone else. You have to take care of YOU.

I know how it feels to think so positively about everyone but yourself, and how it's easy to think that everyone else is “normal” and you're always the odd one out. But, so was every genius you can think of.

I know how scary it is to want to stop picturing the future because all you see is your mental illness. It's terrifying, yes, but how can you know what will happen if you don't live to see it? You are bigger that your mental illness. It might be a chapter in your story, but you hold the pen.

I said “I know” a lot, but there is still a lot I don't know. I'm still learning. We're all still learning. What I do know is that Mental Illness is a part of my story, and it's a big chapter that I can't ignore. It is a chapter I have tried to pretend I didn't read, I chapter I've skipped over and neglected; yet I see it everywhere I go. I breathe it, I am it.

But if there's anything I've learned, it is that the more I skip over that chapter, the harder it becomes to see the rest of the story. Don't let skipping over that chapter ruin your whole story.

My advice to you, Dear Reader, is to first, find your Person. Your rock, someone to scream for you when you've lost your voice. Someone who will drive to your house at two a.m. with ice cream and a colouring book and will just sit with you in silence.

Second, take a Mental Health Day once a month, twice a month, whatever! Cancel that social event (the one you weren't planning on attending anyway) and “Treat Yo Self.” Take a bubble bath, eat a box of chocolates, read a book, whatever! Just be safe. Focus on yourself, take care of yourself, it's not being selfish.

Third, express your feelings in a healthy way. Journal, draw, write a song about it. But I've learned that when you express your feelings, you discover emotions you didn't even know you had.

And lastly, never, ever skip over this chapter. It is a part of you, and that is totally okay! You're not a monster, you're not weird, crazy, out of control, insane, or any other negative adjectives that you could come up with. You think you're not “normal?” Who is?

Don't ignore that this is a part of you, but take comfort in knowing that you can manage it; you hold the pen.

Take pride in the fact that you are the most caring, lovely, intelligent person in the world. You know why? You understand human emotions in ways others can’t even imagine.

I think that makes you a genius.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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