When You Feel Like You Can't Because of Mental Illness


I can’t.

Well, I can’t right now.

One day in the future I can; as long as you’re willing to bend and stretch your definition of what “can” is. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t overcome it by positive thinking. I can’t “just do it.” I’m not lazy. I’m not making up excuses. I’m not weak.

I can’t because I’m the brain that’s swallowed by panic and fear.

I can’t because I’m the brain that’s overstimulated and overwhelmed.

I can’t because I’m the brain that doesn’t have the proper words for me to describe what I’m going through so I can get help.

I can’t because I am the brain that is numbed down from feeling too much for too long and has become worn out.

I can’t because I am the brain that struggles to understand the difference between what’s real or not real because it all seems the same.

I can’t because I am the brain that is desperately trying to cope with sensory overload.

I can’t because I am the brain that is unable to shut down at night so I can rest.

I can’t because I am the brain that is deficient in executive functions and I have not yet learned and exercised these skills.

I can’t because I am the brain that automatically switches off my control when I’m trying to cope with disappointment, frustration or stress.

I can’t because I am the brain that jumbles, reverses and mixes things up.

I can’t because I am the brain that is scattered and unfocused.

I can’t because I’ve put all of my energy into trying to cope with a malfunctioning brain, self-advocating and trying to meet the standards expected of me and I’ve become so drained.

If I could, I would — but I can’t.

I can’t until I learn the skills I need and practice them.

I can’t until I’ve gotten the help and guidance I need from someone else.

Please try to understand I’m trying harder than you’ll ever know and be patient with me. Please don’t tell me you can get over it so I could as well if I just tried a little harder.

Someday, somewhere down the road when I can, please recognize the strength and struggles it took to get that far instead of looking at my other “can’t’s.”

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Thinkstock photo via BugTiger


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