What It Means to Be 'Tired' as Someone With a Mental Illness
My wife says. “You look tired today.”
I got enough sleep. I’m curled up on the couch that I haven’t left all day (unless it was to use the bathroom or to eat). I’m crying while watching romance movies. I’m wondering how they found someone who loved them so completely. Wondering if I would ever be able to love someone that way, or if my mental illness would rear its ugly head in the quietest of moments, shattering that perfect stillness, like always. My wife loves me endlessly, beautifully, full of forgiveness and optimism. She is more than anyone deserves, yet I still can’t trust it. Sometimes I still cannot feel it.
I’m tired. My face seems to be weighed down as the corners of my lips droop further and further. The dullness in my eyes, the slow-spreading smile that is a facade for those around me in these moments. The candle in the room I’m in seems to get dimmer and dimmer as my thoughts swirl more and more. I’m tired. But mostly I’m tired of feeling like this. Tired of imagining all of the horrible things that could happen to the people I love. Tired of driving under a bridge and wondering if it’s high enough for someone to die. Tired of never being enough. Tired of being tired.
As I sit here writing this I am in my home. My dog and puppy can be heard fighting in the other room. The air conditioner blows cool air while the stillness of my house seeps in. I am the only one home today. I am alone.
I stop for a moment to let the quiet slip over me, to let it penetrate the anxious carousel of thoughts inside my head. To let it slip over the “what-ifs,” and “could be’s.” To let it silence the crescendo, even if it’s just for a moment.
I am tired, but I will not always be tired. I have lived this way for long enough to know that every day is different, that all the waves that come will not drown me, that all the things that overwhelm me will not always exist. I am allowed to be tired.
So are you.
So I will be gentle with myself today. I will go to the gym for a mood lift. Or I will lay around and eat candy and watch movies if that’s what brings me peace. Maybe I will read a good book or write in my journal. Whatever I choose to do, I will do it fully and I will remember: I am tired, but I won’t always be.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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Unsplash photo via Vulcan Olmez