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#CheckInWithMe: Removing Our Layers

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5 people share their experience with mental illness and why it’s so important to #CheckInWithMe and remove those layers.


Living with mental illness can sometimes feel like we’re hiding our true selves.

Maybe we’re fighting through our symptoms to appear “normal,”

Maybe we’re hiding them out of fear of the unknown or judgment from others.

Or maybe we’re hiding simply because we experience things you can’t see on the outside.

But one of the ways we can normalize the conversation around mental health and confront that fear is to peel back the layers to help others understand.

The Mighty presents #CheckInWithMe: Removing Our Layers

This is my experience living with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, anorexia.

Anxiety 1: Indecision

My anxiety stems from a time I felt so incredibly certain about something, and it turned out to be a lie. I have this fear of making a wrong decision, because I once did, and now I can’t trust myself with the smallest decisions like picking a chapstick.

Depression 1: Exhaustion
On certain days with depression, the thought of doing anything other than sleeping becomes overwhelming. I waste hours or days asleep and I don’t notice until I have good days. It’s easier to say I’m just tired than explain I’m in a depressive episode.

Bipolar 1: Bipolar
Bipolar disorder sounds scary to those who don’t share the diagnosis, and just sharing that can cause a lot of misunderstanding.

BPD 1: Chronic Emptiness
Living with BPD is isolating. It feels like there’s nothing in the world that can fill the void inside of me. It’s difficult to explain this feeling to someone who has never experienced it. I fear judgment from people who don’t understand.

Anorexia 1: Insecurity
I get stuck in my head and feel alone. It’s a fight between my rational brain and my emotions. I fear that if I show my insecurities, I’ll get hurt. It’s easier to turn inward and shut down.

Anxiety 2: Oversharing
I’m a people pleaser by nature and this results in talking too much and oversharing to make others happy. My anxiety tells me someone won’t like me if I don’t open up and share.

Depression 2: Lack of Motivation
Often people see me looking productive, but they don’t know I’m just taking full advantage of the days depression is giving me a break. I have to plan my life around unpredictable highs and lows, and in those lows, even doing something you normally love can be too demanding.

Bipolar 2: Erratic, High Energy
When I’m manic, it may seem like everything is great. I talk a mile a minute, make plans and try to do everything. I don’t need to sleep or eat, until finally I collapse from exhaustion.

BPD 2: Dissociation
Dissociation feels like my body isn’t mine and I’m drifting away. Sounds are blurred and even if I’m staring at something, it’s like I can’t see it. It takes time to pull myself out of it and gets worse when I’m stressed.

Anorexia 2: Self-Doubt
The irrational part of my brain tells me I’m setting myself up for failure. I compare myself to others, and doubt the things I know I can do and have done. None of this is true, but self-doubt is powerful.

Anxiety 3: Being a Creator
Public reaction and reception is a huge part of being a creator. There’s this fear that people will percieve you as this annoying, self-promotional person. And when I create art that’s poorly received, it makes me feel like I’m not good enough.

Depression 3: Hiding Through Humor
People see a funny, light-hearted person who doesn’t take life too seriously, someone who is never sad. It feels like I’m a happy person trapped inside a depressed mind. And it drowns out those loud thoughts in my head of not wanting to be alive. I use humor to hide because people never question a funny, positive individual.

Bipolar 3: Depressed/Suicidal
When I feel like this, I can’t stop sleeping or eating. I hide how I’m feeling because my brain makes me believe I’m a burden.

BPD 3: Unstable Sense of Self
My mind is running a million miles a minute and my moods constantly fluctuate. I feel like I don’t know who I am because I can’t just stay one way for long. I feel like consistency is something I’ll never truly experience.

Anorexia 3: Feeling Undeserving of Love
Everyone deserves love, and when I feel like I don’t, I can convince myself of anything. I spiral towards darkness.

All of this is just me. But now you can see me without the layers I hide behind.

#CheckInWithMe when you know I have a big or small decision coming up.

#CheckInWithMe on those weeks I’m constantly tired, because it means more than just being behind on sleep.

#CheckInWithMe if you notice I’m fidgeting or twitching a lot.

#CheckInWithMe when I seem emotionless or distracted.

#CheckInWithMe when you see me shut down and turn inward.

If we can normalize living with mental illness,
and have a conversation about it,
then maybe it’ll be easier to remove those layers completely.

Originally published: July 11, 2019
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