To my mental illnesses:
Screw you for making getting out of bed so hard sometimes. For making me be the drag, the party pooper. For making me want to stay in bed all day and skip class. There are days when getting out of bed is so difficult, where I have to struggle so hard to do things that others seem to do so easily. Even with medication, with help, you make doing everyday things so unreasonably difficult. Many days I'm fine, able to function, but there's the occasional day where you make things so incredibly unmanageable.
Screw you for making me feel so low. Junior year was a nightmare because of you. I let myself be manipulated by false friends, I let myself be someone that I wasn't because the chemicals in my brain made me feel like a shell of the person I was supposed to be. But you made me feel like it was nothing, that I was just tired, or a bit under the weather. That the lows I were feeling were normal, that going home from school and sleeping until going to school the next day was normal.
Eventually, I stopped listening. I learned that this isn't right, that I shouldn't be thinking the things that you made me think. That I am so much more than a girl who sleeps the days away and can't even enjoy a book anymore because she can't concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. I started taking medications, ones that weren't right at first, but I eventually found the balance that worked for me. I overcame the way you made me feel and got the help that I needed.
You make life hard, but you have also made me stronger than I ever knew I could be.
So thank you.
Thank you for teaching me to be strong. For showing me how to overcome barriers that many perceive as not real or not as serious as physical illness. People will tell me that it's all in my head, with the condescending tone one saves for toddlers who won't eat vegetables or teenagers who can't understand basic topics in history class. The point of a mental illness is that it's in your head, that there's a chemical imbalance in your brain making you feel ways that you shouldn't be feeling. Taking medications for depression, for anxiety, for ADHD, is the same as taking medicine for a cold or a flu. It's balancing out what isn't level, and that's okay. If someone got shot in the arm, no one would tell them to try yoga, try to just breathe through it or get over it. You're the exact same way. Breathing can help me through a panic attack, but it doesn't address the roots of why I have them. Turning off my phone can help me focus on my homework, but it doesn't stop the way my mind runs a million directions all at once.
Thank you for empowering me to do things for myself, to go out and push my limits. Yes, some days are harder than others. A lot of days are at least a little bit hard, but I know that I have the strength inside me to overcome these barriers.
I wish I didn't have to deal with you. I wish that you weren't a part of my life. But you are, and I am making the most of it. So thank you, for teaching me how to live my life to the fullest.
Kaitlyn Pollack, struggler and survivor