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When You See Me, I Don't Let You See My Mental Illness


I can’t see it. I can’t see the goal, the light, the future, the brightness, the release, the freedom. What I use as motivation every day to get out of bed, to walk outside, to attend class and meetings. Every step I take is fueled by the thought of a life outside this life. Hope generated solely from remnants of health clinging to the chance it might see something different. You don’t see it in my face, my smile or my frown. My clothes, my notebook, my pen, or the eager stare as I write things down. How I had to force myself to get out of bed. How I had to tell myself, get up, get up, get up! until my body and my brain were forced to listen to me, like a child told to get out of bed. They don’t want to go to school. My brain remains stubborn. It does not want to function

Mental illness is not something I wear with pride or shame. I do not use it as an excuse to justify not enjoying my life or my circumstances. It is something that has clothed me. I can’t take it off. It sewn into my skin and when it tears, I bandage the wounds. The pain I feel when I cannot articulate to someone how I feel is nothing compared to the greater pain I feel when I articulate to someone exactly how I feel, yet they do not understand nor care.

When I see a glimpse of light and I extend my hand to someone who I don’t trust yet, they fail me, reject me. How the darkness is all too ready and eager to embrace me again. My heartbeat refuses to rest, it throws a tantrum at the thought of more unhappiness added to what it is already carrying. But I will not give up. If I can give no more and I lose my mind, I will at least know I have tried. I fought all the way to the end because I know I am worthy. I am strong. I am persevering.

I am a survivor.

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Thinkstock photo via OGri.