The mural of mental illness
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Health and Wellness

The mural of mental illness

The metaphors of mental illness, because sometimes words alone aren't enough

The mural of mental illness

Let me paint you a picture.

Cars at an intersection. Imagine a four way stop, but with a traffic light instead of stop signs. Imagine there are four cars, one at each stop. Each one of these cars just wants to go straight. Now imagine that all the lights in all the directions on the traffic light are flashing. Each car is seeing a synchronized dance of red blurring to yellow, down to green and back again. None of the cars move, because nobody knows who is supposed to go, and nobody wants to crash. The cars pile up, as more traffic comes to this intersection. There is a buildup of cars, trying to get to where they need to go. There is honking, lights flashing, people screaming, and a dozen different end locations trying to be reached.

That is how it feels inside my head.

I could be in a group setting, with people I love, yet the horns still honk and the lights still blink. I could be home by myself, in peace and quiet, yet there's still a dozen destinations unreached. Thoughts unprocessed. An overflow of thoughts, getting stuck in one spot, unable to pass to the next.

Another picture.

People at an airport. Imagine one person has baggage. That person doesn't pay to check their baggage, because they will put it on the plane. It will fit on the plane. It has to. Now imagine that the baggage doesn't fit like they thought. The push, and cram, and will for the bag to fit, but it won't.

That's how the thoughts feel. The overabundance, that I try to fit into being just an abundance, which I then try to squish into being just appropriate.

The baggage doesn't even need to be life-altering. The baggage can be family problems, relationship problems, academic problems, personal problems. You could've grown up with nothing, and had to fight for what you have. You could've grown up with everything, yet still feel like the baggage is overflowing.

That was me. I had a great upbringing- loving family, amazing friends, outstanding academics, determined work ethic. Yet all my cars are still stuck at one intersection, and my baggage won't fit on the plane. Nobody really understands why I have these issues- the depression, the anxiety. Nobody understands what kind of baggage I could possibly have. Honestly, I don't either. If I knew, I'd take it out of the bag and leave it at home. But I can't. And I know I'm not the only one who suffers like this. I am not the only one who experiences real symptoms caused by imaginary scenarios. I am not the only one who functions during the day, but cowers in the night from the demons in my head. I am not the only one who can't seem to will themselves to do even the slightest activity when their whole world comes crashing onto their shoulders. I am not the only one who's thoughts can be so loud, yet so eerily silent at the same time.

But I am the only suffering like this in my circle. My friends and family don't understand. I could try to explain it to them, but they would never fully grasp what I was feeling. Why I was feeling. It's hard trying to process and compartmentalize thoughts, constantly feeling like my brain is messy. And everyone has a messy brain, but not everyone is on medicine to help clean up the mess. Not everyone has a therapist to talk the mess into moving. Not everyone has to clean up the mess themselves.

So if you have your own mural painted on your wall, illustrating your mental illnesses, don't forget to sign the bottom. One day that mural will be worth millions, and they'll wonder how you managed to paint such a beautiful picture, in such a messy room.

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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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