Last week, our wonderful Creator Eren wrote on what her mental illness looks like, a topic she found online. It was brave and beautiful and inspired me to do my own. I'll be honest, this isn't easy. It never is, but it's important.
So what does it look like?
Well first, it looks like me. Someone with blue/green eyes, short. Someone who came from a background of divorce, but no other serious trauma. It's started at 13 or 14 years old, when you just want to be friends and instead you're laying in bed and you say it's because "you're tired." It's accompanied by constant stream or tears or staring at the walls. It's being tangled in so much anxiety, you're gasping for air, literally and figuratively. Being frozen in place rather than a fight or flight in a panic attack. It's having these episodes over school, people or just life in general just because. It's questioning your existence. And numbing yourself any way possible. It's the life taken from you. It's the thing you want to fight through and think positive about and be okay, but it's not that simple.
But then you're happy sometimes. No more sad feelings, let's celebrate! Enjoying life with friends, staying up all night, going to parties. Let's talk to everyone because "I feel so good!!" I buy stuff I don't need and get irritated at the slightest thing going wrong. It makes me lash out. It's reckless, fun, and maybe hazardous. But it's also obsessive, though. You feel the need to check the door four times to be exact. If you mess something up, better go back. Count to make sure it adds up and make sure it's even. It means nothing bad will happen, like you or your family dying. It's the dumbest thing ever, especially when everyone's around, but it helps the anxiety, even short term is enough.
Your friends and family get it. They may not deal with it, but they're there for you. They keep you walking, talking, alive. Therapy, medication and any other healthy coping technique are godsends, but so are the people who keep you from crashing. Or maybe they rescue you when you've already crashed. You learn so much from these complex diseases, about yourself and those around you. You learn just how strong you are. It also makes mental illness real no matter who you are, where you come from, anything. It doesn't discriminate.
So how would you describe your mental illness? Why do we make it so stigmatized? Why don't we speak up?