When Someone You Love Struggles With Mental Illness, Don’t Make Them Fight It Alone

When I tell you I’m suffering, do not take it lightly. Do not act like it’s no big deal. The amount of strength it just took me to get the courage to admit that something is wrong with me is unfathomable. The most difficult thing is admitting to someone that I am not okay. I’ve been struggling mentally for as long as I can remember. Quite frankly that is only a few years because of the countless memories lost somewhere, locked away in the darkest corners of my mind.

I’ve gotten help. It’s worked; it hasn’t. Just because I’ve been okay for a while now does not mean that my illness is gone. It does not simply disappear. You cannot take me asking for help as a cry of a wolf that does not exist. I’ve cried for help so many times. I’m sick of crying. I’m sick of having panic attacks. I’m sick of being too afraid to tell someone that I’m having a panic attack. I’m sick of not being taken seriously.

I’m sick.

When I get the courage to tell you that I am not all right, that everything seems to be against me, that my world is crashing down and I don’t know why, I beg you, please do not brush it off. Yes, I have gone through times like these in the past. Yes, I’m sure I’ll get through this one. Eventually. For now, I just need you to help me.

Be there. Hug me. Comfort me.

Don’t carry on like I just told you the weather forecast. When I tell you that I’ve been crying myself to sleep for weeks, don’t act like it’s normal. When I tell you that my sleep schedule is off, that I wake up for 2 to 3 hours in the middle of the night, don’t tell me that my father does the same thing. This isn’t normal for me. I know what’s normal for me.

When I tell you that I’ve been taking my tranquilizers on occasion, don’t immediately assume that I’ve taken too many. I understand that many people in older generations do not understand mental illness; they were taught to ignore it – that it isn’t real. Well I’m here; I’m real. My anxiety is real. My panic attacks are real. My depression is real. My bipolar disorder is real.

My pain is fucking real.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You believe in a god who you have no physical evidence of but when I tell you that I am not healthy your belief in the unseen dissipates.

I’m unstable.

No, I don’t know what’s triggering me. If I did, I would stop it. This boredom isn’t the typical adolescent angst that so many complain about. This is boredom with every aspect in my life. I don’t enjoy the things I used to. I can’t continue to live on the momentary joy I receive from binge television and mindlessly distracting myself by scrolling through various social media platforms. This isn’t real happiness. This isn’t really living. I can’t just sit around and wait for my life to sort itself out. I need help and I’m asking you for it.

I’m tired.

I am a sufferer, but I cannot simply be defined as just that. I have different triggers. I have different illnesses. I cannot be put into a box and sold at Christmas time. You cannot slap a label on me. You wouldn’t lump every kind of cancer patient together, so why do it to me? Many of those who suffer wear multiple mental illness hats. I’ve got a collection: bipolar disorder, depression, social anxiety, panic disorder. I’m on my way to opening my own Lids franchise, and yet you refuse to acknowledge that I am struggling.

I’m hanging onto the edge of my life, each finger slowly losing its grip. It’s only so long before I fall if someone does not reach out to help me. I’ve been waiting for someone to reach out for the last 9 fingers. I’ve got one left and I’m screaming for help as loud as my vocal cords will allow. You wouldn’t let me actually fall off a cliff, would you?

I cannot sit around and wait for the light bulb above your head to finally switch on, for you to finally realize that I need help. I’m sick of being unstable and I’m tired of you not helping. So until it dawns on you that I’m lost well within my own mind, I’m going to have to fight this myself, an army of one. I’m a worrier turned warrior. I will not let my mental illness win. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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