When You're Battling Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

It’s Thanksgiving, and I have spent the last week trying to mentally prepare myself for this.

Since August, I have been in a treatment facility for my mental illness. I haven’t seen my family since they came to see me in the ICU following my last suicide attempt. I wasn’t planning on being home for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t even planning on being alive for Thanksgiving. I never thought I would survive this long.

The thought of having to put on an act, of having to pretend I’m OK and that the treatment worked, is so incredibly exhausting for me. I know I could just be honest, but that is even more terrifying for me. Despite all I have been through over the past two years, I still try to keep my pain hidden. I still try to act as if everything is fine. I am still ashamed.

Ashamed. Why am I ashamed? I know mental illness is a disease. I know it is not my fault. I just can’t help but feel guilty that I cannot be happy, that I cannot be thankful I am still here for the holidays.

I know the holidays can be a very difficult time for many. I want to remind those of you struggling this holiday season to please remember to take care of yourself. Cancel plans if you need to. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. It’s OK to grieve. You deserve happiness and healing, and that is my holiday wish for you.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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

Related to Mental Health

A t-shirt, a tote bag and a necklace

The Mighty's Gift Guide for Giving Back to the Mental Health Community

Tis the season to be giving gifts, but just because you’re shopping for your family and friends doesn’t mean you can’t support the mental health community too. Here are 10 companies which feature either products created by people living with mental illnesses or use part of their proceeds to support mental health causes. 1. Schizophrenic.NYC  [...]
woman with colorful umbrella walking in the snow

5 Tips to Get Through the Holidays When You Have a Mental Illness

This is time of year for family, friends and loved ones to get together and reflect on the year that has been. While the holiday season is welcomed by many, it can also come with a lot of stress. Here are five tips to get through the holiday season, especially if you have a mental [...]
Wooden table on white abstract background

The Little Things I'm Thankful For Even in the Throes of Mental Illness

You know that feeling you get when you win a board game? The pure innocent joy of succeeding at rolling some dice and lucking into a few good cards… it’s really something special. It shows how simple it is to enjoy the small things in life. Sunrises and sunsets A good cup of coffee The [...]
student in classroom during exam

Learning How to Be Sick in College

For every stage of my life I have learned something. Life is about learning and moving through stages. When I was a baby I learned how to crawl, walk and talk. When I was a child I learned how to color inside the lines, how to ride a bike and how to be a big [...]