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When You Question If You Deserve to Recover From Your Mental Illness

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

I’m feeling really “flat” today. To be honest though, I have been feeling this way for a few days, but have pushed through because it’s been lovely to reflect on 16 years with my dear husband. However the rather frustrating fact remains that my mental illness doesn’t really care if I’m trying to celebrate a milestone — no, it does not care one little bit.

People would likely say, “What are you talking about? You have a great life! Others have real problems to worry about, you should think of them.” And while I feel blessed for the great things I do have in my life, you should never judge what you don’t know. The great things cover, but do not remove, years of trauma, self-doubt and my struggle with depression and anxiety. The great things make it possible to hold on, but they do not magically blot out pain and hurt.


I am feeling flat, down, melancholy — depressed even. I feel this sense of frustration and turmoil, and I’ve been recently working on expressing some really deeply buried thoughts and feelings in my personal and private writing. This is the writing that stays hidden and I do not share here or anywhere. While in one sense I feel proud of myself for being able to put these painful feelings into words, there is a part of me that feels really upset that I have not just “moved on.” I am angry at myself for still letting things that happened so many years ago have a place in my thoughts, a place in my life.

Then there is the frustration I feel at myself for being upset that I’m upset at myself. Yes — I am “that girl.” I was raised in a family where I was not allowed to be “negative” in any way. I was to put any fears or discomforts aside and not “harp on” about them. So when I experience negative emotions, I feel a deep sense of discomfort and guilt. It makes it very difficult to let out the poison of trauma and anxiety when I am scared of feeling the sadness and anger that often comes with it. I am always remorseful of the negativity of my feelings.

I am tired. Some days it doesn’t bother me, it feels like a physical tiredness and I can deal with that. Sometimes though when this tired feeling seeps into my bones, into my soul, it becomes a whole new level of tired. I could maybe describe it as “soul destroying.” It makes me want to weep. I want to weep for who I was, for the pain and confusion of my past. I want to weep for who I am, for the turmoil and frustration of my present. I am scared to weep for who I might be in the future. I am afraid she will still be feeling this way in 10 or 20 years.

This weekend I realized it had been a while since I thought out my suicide plan in a clear and concise way, and I felt good about that. But then that good feeling was chased by panic and fear of the unknown. I stood trembling before the unknown of the future, and worrying about what it might look like. There is fear in recovering, because I do not truly feel as though I deserve to be happy.

It is hard to know what to feel some days because nightmares assault me each night again lately. They steal my joy and make my sad and afraid. This flatness feels familiar but it is no longer comfortable. I have tasted little bits of happiness as my brain has become healthier, and that has made me desire more. But I am still unsure if it will come to me, and I am confused about if it would be OK for me to want that.

My past should not have a place in my present, but it tries it’s best to convince me of the opposite, loudly telling me it belongs wherever I am, whenever I am and will always shape whomever I am.

Yet the question remains, do I truly deserve to be happy? Only I can answer that — it has to come from within.

Follow this journey on The Art of Broken.

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 lekcej.