If Mental Illness Kept You at Home Today


Autumn is finally here. Even in my warm, Southern hometown the difference is noticeable. If you’re a student, the semester is in full swing. 2016 is in its final stretch, and the sun is staying with us less and less each day. For me, these usher in more frequent panic attacks, heavier feet when it’s time for… anything, and a stronger sense of overwhelm. Of course, I’m sure you’ve been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt.

It’s early morning. I have a class underway right now, but I’m tucked snuggly into bed with my husband. The only thing keeping me from tears and another panic attack is the desire to reach out to others whose feet were just too heavy today, their heads too cloudy, their chests too tight, or their hearts too broken.

If that’s you, know you aren’t the only one nestled warmly in your “hidey hole,” as I like to call it. Perhaps you’ve cocooned yourself in soft sheets or you’re stepping out of the hot, steamy shower that temporarily calms your frayed nerves. Maybe you’re numb and searching online for something that makes you feel anything at all.

Please, from your sister this side of the internet, know it’s OK for you to be in that hole or that shower. If you’re in your robe or your sweatpants, that’s all right. Bonus points if you’re wearing a scrunchy you bought in 1994. If your hair is brushed, those high heels are on, but now your mascara is streaming and you’ve had to take a “you day,” you do that.

As long as you’re doing your best today, take comfort. As people with mental illness, we can’t always anticipate how many “spoons” we get each day any more than those with physical illness (some of us have both), and sometimes the cost in amount of spoons per step fluctuates. Essentially, your best changes every day. Please resist the urge compare your best today to what it was yesterday, last month, or two years ago.

Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully, it will bring you more spoons, but that is much more likely if you take gentle care of yourself today. Maybe tomorrow will take you out the front door. I hope it does. You deserve to make it tomorrow. You at least deserve your best effort at trying. And I hope you know that even today you’re worthwhile. Your value doesn’t depend on how far your feet took you this morning.

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Mental Health

a safety life ring

When You Live With a Mental Illness, It's OK to Send Out an SOS

Imagine you’re sailing on a ship full speed ahead to your next destination with not a care in the world. All of a sudden, the ship springs a leak. It’s a small leak. So you patch it and continue to sail on. You don’t go much further before that small leak turns into a bunch [...]
urban girl standing out from the crowd at a city street

The Good and Bad of Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment, From an Involuntary Patient

An extended leave authorization form. In light of the recent Supreme Court Charter challenge to involuntary psychiatric treatment under British Columbia’s Mental Health Act, I was prompted to reflect on my own situation as an involuntary patient living in the community. This challenge has sparked a lot of debate, with one side strongly supporting the challenge, while the other [...]
side view of a couple in a dark movie theater

5 Things I've Learned About Dating With a Mental Illness

No amount of coming-of-age books, romantic comedies, or magazine articles about dating and relationships could have prepared me for how my life as a 20-something would actually turn out. At 21, I developed a severe anxiety disorder. Within six months, I was hospitalized five times, faced countless medication changes and misdiagnoses, and gained 40 pounds. As 2013 ended, so did [...]
two hands reaching up

On the Front Line After Another Racial Trauma

Another life has been claimed. Another hashtag has surfaced. We’ve said the names of Sandra Bland and Philando Castile over and over, and now we are saying Terence Crutcher. Throughout the week the nation expressed confusion, fear, anger and outrage. Lines were drawn. Debates filled the comment sections and news feeds of media sites — but here we are again. [...]