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When You Need a Holiday From Your Mental Illness

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

My first thought this morning was rather poetic, even if I do say so myself. As I opened my eyes and listened to the settling of our home as the morning rays started to creep over the hills, I thought And yet, still the sun rises.

It seemed like an odd thing to think, even for me, the thinker of all things odd. Last night was yet another night of frightening dreams, drenching night sweats and random stabbing pains through my body that had woken me several times. I admit waking up and seeing a sunrise didn’t really feel like much of a win. The thought of the days going on doesn’t always seem to hold promise for me.

As the day goes on I know my mood will lift and the nights terror will fade away, but this morning I didn’t want to open my eyes. I did not want to see another sunrise. I just wanted to slip peacefully into nothingness, to stop existing. To no longer fear what I’ll find in my sleep, to not feel the pain or wake up tangled in my sheets in a panic.

I am tired. Not as tired as I have been in the past, but I am tired. I feel run down, my body is off kilter. My mind is the most peaceful it has ever been, but it is still drained. I am in desperate need of a holiday, but not the kind of holiday people think of. I need a holiday from myself. I need a break from the never-ending job of trying to heal. It is worthwhile and it is rewarding, but it is exhausting too.

There is a constant battle to redirect my thoughts and feelings, the constant dread of failing and falling back into the pit of depression. The push to keep going forward and challenging myself to do more things, to introduce new facets into my life or even just to return to normal activities. Socializing, working, organizing my life. Normal things I used to do without thinking about them.

For me, there is also the awareness that this tiredness and frustration comes back to a perfectionist streak I have. I want to be healed already. I have not met my timeline – it doesn’t matter that I know the timeline I set was irrational and impossible. I expect more of myself.

Anyone who believes recovery is simply taking a pill and becoming happy instantly is very misinformed. Recovery is not linear. There are ups, but there are downs too and then there are times when you go along fairly steady for quite some time. For many of us, there is no end destination, it will be a constant journey for the rest of our lives.

So yes, the sun rose today and it will rise again tomorrow. Each day is a fresh start and a new chance to try again despite the challenges it may bring.

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

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

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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.