Some days it can feel as if you are drowning, gasping for air and crying out for help, yet no one notices and slowly you sink.
That is a phrase that I understand all too well and have heard other people who suffer with mental illness say. As someone who’s open about my depression, chronic anxiety and diagnosed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) I can recognize my demons from first glance. I have my days where I feel so small, weak and fragile to the world around me. I have let my mental illnesses consume me and turn me into someone I don’t know. It has taught me that I’m a very easily addictive person. I know my self destructive behaviors and vices like they are almost second nature to me. I have also learned that I am so much stronger than I ever once thought I was. If you are someone suffering with any mental illness and you are wondering just how you will ever overcome this. Maybe you feel as if it would be easier just to give up, let it all go and stop living in pain.
On my bad days I can wake up suddenly feeling a heavy weight on my entire body. I do not want to move, speak or see anyone. My anxiety tells me that I must be social, get work done and be productive but my depression does not want any part of that. It is almost as if my illnesses battle each other and they leave me feeling as if I am the destruction that was left. I think about running far away from society, changing my name and dying my hair probably more than I should. I have days where I lose any ounce of ambition and I feel as if I have no purpose in this world. There are days that are full of self sorrow and nights that my brain goes manic and it’s suddenly 3AM and my mind is racing and I pour my soul into my writing. I am aware of how I react and how I feel due to my illnesses. I will never let these moments, days or weeks of suffering define the person I have been growing myself into becoming.
I promise you now, there are so many beautiful days ahead of you.
There are eyes you haven’t met yet and sunsets you must be around to see. You may feel like the world is crashing on you now, but you just haven’t realized your own power yet.
There are many ways we can choose to cope with mental illness. There are healthy ways and there are damaging ways to distract yourself in your most vulnerable state. I have learned that meditation, regular therapy, deep breathing, reading, writing and being surrounded by those who pick me up rather than drag me down has made an incredible impact on how I choose to handle my mental illnesses in my everyday life.
You must remind yourself that your brain is causing this chaos in your mind. There is nothing wrong or weak about you. I know you feel as if you could snap at any moment, almost as if you could crumble to a million pieces instantly.
Take a mental health day. Reflect on how you are choosing to cope. Do you have unhealthy vices you have latched yourself onto? Are you scared of being alone to deal with your own thoughts? There is nothing wrong with taking some extra time to love yourself more. We are all imperfectly perfect humans and we deserve to sit in silence and pay attention to how we are feeling. You cannot let your mental illness define you. You are a survivor for waking up everyday and starting your day.
You are a warrior for showing compassion, grace and kindness when you are feeling empty on the inside. You are nothing close to damaged or weak.
You are not a sad Tumblr post that romanticizes mental illness. You will never be just another stigma. You are someone worthy of happiness, of peace and living life to their best ability.
You are stronger than you could ever imagine.
Even stronger than your bad days.