With a Mental Illness, My Hard Work Comes From Unexpected Places


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.

I may not have a 40-hour per week job or be in college, hunkered down and studying for finals, but this does not mean I am not working hard.

My hard work comes at 2 a.m. when my heart is pounding like the base at a David Guetta concert because I panicked mid-sleep. My hard work comes when I am sitting in one of my therapist’s offices or in the office of my dietician and I have to tell them I relapsed with self-harm and the shame I feel for falling to the urges is beyond words. My hard work comes when the voice in my head tempts me with the idea of permanent relief and an idea of how to obtain that flashes through my mind.

My work is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year and will continue for the rest of my life. I do, however, have moments where my hard work pays off. My hard work shows when I have a recovery win, such as finding clothes I like even though my eating disorder tells me I look frumpy and gross. My hard work shows when I get up and go to my paying job, despite my depression blanketing me and reminding me of how scary and painful the world is to me. My hard work shows when I go out on my own and talk to people, even though my anxiety tells me no one likes me and I am an annoyance to all those I am around. My hard work shows when I choose to live another day despite all the battles I am fighting and all the pain I feel.

I work my ass off; it just might not be in a way you would expect.

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

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Chelsea Francis


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