It’s a life sentence. Most people cannot understand how a mental illness works – how it completely re-shapes your life and the way that you think, but that’s ok, some people don’t have to understand it. I just hope that they never have to experience a mental health issue in themselves or in someone they love.
Your life feels broken – like you’re half the person you hoped you’d be. You can’t sleep, eat or work, the things you love seem meaningless now and you would much rather shut the world away. Everyday things that would present no issue to a ‘normal’ person grip me with fear – like driving to a new place or meeting new people.
Anxiety is mind games – that critical inner voice that no matter how hard you try to ignore – it’s always there. Planning your next move, doubting every decision you make, clogging your mind with negative and destructive thoughts. It’s hiding in the public toilets for a moment of solitude, trying desperately not to cry or pass out because you can’t bear to face the people on the other side of the wall for fear of being mocked, judged or talked about. But you know deep down that you’re not strong enough anyway so the tears start to fall and you wonder how you’re going to appear ‘normal’ to these people.
Depression isn’t just sadness, it’s crying yourself to sleep most nights because your life feels like a colossal failure, and you’re going nowhere. It’s bleak, empty, and lonely. It’s an abundance of nothing; no future, no hope, no reason to smile or carry on. Just a numb existence. You wish you could disappear completely.
I wonder if any of the people from my school years had any idea that their actions and torment would haunt me into adulthood. I never got better, I got worse and worse until I hit rock bottom and all my self-confidence and self-esteem was gone.
Accepting that a mental illness is something you will carry with you for life is hard. Nobody truly beats it, we just learn to live with it in ways that are invisible to everyone around us. Living with a mental illness means fighting a constant internal battle.
If you are struggling and feel like you have nobody to talk to, please reach out. I’m only ever a message away, and starting in 2018 I am going to try and put as much time as I can into mental health work and helping as many people as I can, because nobody should be suffering alone.
There is help out there for people like us, just know that you are doing so much better than you think, and you are stronger than the doubts and insecurities in your mind.