What My Mental Illness Looks Like

What My Mental Illness Looks Like

What does yours look like?
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I was scrolling past a Tumblr post the other day where a young girl wrote a paragraph about what “her” mental illness looked like, and I fell completely in love with it. I heard other symptoms that don’t happen to me but still felt the pain from her; she gave such raw emotion/struggle in her digital words that stopped me in my tracks. Then as I got to the end of her post, she continued to ask everyone else to post something similar to help stop the stigma against Mental Illness (which obviously made me fall in love with this post even more.)

So, I decided to do one as well in honor of all the girls/guys who did one and for all the others who were too affected by the stigma against Mental Illness to feel comfortable about writing so openly about it.

What does my mental illness look like? It looks like a lot of days spent in bed fearing talking to others, but the next day chatting up a storm with a stranger happening to be buying the same dish soap as me. Being riddled with so much anxiety that it sometimes throws my emotions into a tizzy and I lash out on the people I love. Being so angry that only throwing things/punching pillows seems to help release the feeling. Dyeing my hair some weird color, buying an expensive and unneeded item, following my emotions instead of reason because in the morning I’m riddled with dread about being alive. Going through relationship after relationship (platonic or romantic) over and over again, because my mental illness doesn’t admire stability. Crying before some workouts because my body/mind is so exhausted before I even lift up a weight. Religiously taking baths, doing face masks, drinking tea because all of these are posted on every Google search for “how do I help my anxiety.” That is what it looks like to me, but even with all of those moments, I have better ones that arise.

I spend a generous amount of time meditating my mind, stretching my body with yoga, and running past my slump with my long distance running. All the people in my life hold my head up when I need it the most, and show me so much love that I am shocked each day. I have mastered the art of communication and can openly tell others how I feel rather than bottling everything up only for it to come crashing down. I let life run around and do whatever it pleases because after years of therapy I learned that I have no control of that but only how I deal with it afterwards. Through my mental illness I’ve learned so much about the me who is no longer striving to be rid of her mental illness but the me who wants to inform others about how to live through it.

So what does your mental illness look like? Is it anything like what I described? If not, then what else could you add about the ups and down of having Mental Illness.

I would also like to end this post with marking it in dedication to a family member of mine who passed away earlier this year to suicide, we all miss you very much. Many people treat the idea of suicide so terrifying/taboo to talk about that the people suffering sometimes feel too ashamed to ask for help before making a permanent decision.
Cover Image Credit: Eren Santana-Bykofsky

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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