For Those Struggling With Mental Illness, Be Brave

Victor ilunga
Victor ilunga

For the latter half of the previous year, I completely stopped writing.

Poems, blog posts, self-notes. Anything personal. With the exception of academic requirements, I was a total blank. It was my lowest point as a writing major. And the peak of my depression.

I used to always channel my emotional excess into the things I create.
I still remember all the bad poetry I wrote back in high school. The attempts at writing fiction, screenplays, nonfiction. Everything was always about, or because, of what I felt.

But last year was very different. I couldn’t get myself to write. Every time I tried, nothing would come out. It felt like trying to write when the ink already ran dry. But it wasn’t just lack of motivation. It resembled something closer to fear.

I was afraid. I was afraid of reading into my own thoughts. It felt to me as if writing about anything meant having to face what I was dealing with first. To recognize the lingering feeling that there was something out of place, something wrong, even if I had no clue what it was.

I just couldn’t deal with the honesty that writing demanded. I couldn’t muster up the guts to be honest even, and especially, to myself. I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong. And so I stopped writing.

As the years transitioned, it felt like my perspective, too, was altered. I missed writing, and as a writing major, I knew it wasn’t a good practice to let myself be caged in such hiatus. I had to somehow face the worst thoughts I had, sometime soon.

The process was far from easy. It was painful, even. But acceptance was what I needed to overcome the months’ worth of mental block. I needed to acknowledge that there was a problem. I tried, and when I finally did, things slowly became a bit easier.

What I used to avoid became my best way to deal with the chaos in my mind. I try to write it all down and make sense out of the almost senseless things I can’t help thinking about. Ultimately, I learned to talk about my problem and treat it as it is.

I try to be as honest as I can in describing the struggle of being a borderline-bipolar. And just because I talk about my mental disorders, doesn’t mean I’m proud of having them. It just shows that I am trying to be brave enough to face them.

I hope everyone else with similar problems dares to be brave, too. TC mark

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