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When an Improvement in Your Mental Health Is Surprising


What living with mental illness is like for me:

Laughing one minute and crying the next.

Seeking out shelter in the form of socially acceptable places to cry.

Memorizing the washrooms that have the smallest cracks in the doors, the classrooms with the soundproof walls, the hallways that are emptier than they are full.

On your good days, being so productive you get every assignment done, clean your room, wash the dishes, do your laundry and even have time for a bubble bath with scented candles, but then you get so trapped in your own mind that you get angry at yourself for not being this way all the time.

Being physically unable to get out of bed.

Sleeping all day.

Ignoring your mom’s phone calls.

Feeling like you’re climbing up the wrong escalator because it seems like you’re making progress, but as soon as you stand still, everything comes crashing down around you and here you are, back at the bottom.

The one place you try your hardest to avoid.

Missing your doctor’s appointment.

Eventually rescheduling your doctor’s appointment.

Lying to your psychiatrist and telling him you feel better, even though you ate an entire pint of ice cream last night and you don’t remember how you got to work yesterday.

Getting a new diagnosis and realizing you’re not “crazy” and the meds you were on weren’t working for a reason, and now you’re on antipsychotics instead of antidepressants and somehow you feel even more broken, even though this is the first part of getting sewn back together.

Smiling.

For no reason.

Smiling even more because you can’t remember the last time you smiled for no reason.

Calling your mom back.

Realizing people in your life love you more than you could imagine.

Walking on eggshells because you know your good mood eventually gets replaced with something a lot scarier.

Writing, because it’s the one thing that makes your feelings tangible.

Crying one minute and laughing the next.

Repeat.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash