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Why We Have to Carry On in the Battle With Mental Illness

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A few minutes ago I was doing my makeup, browsing Buzzfeed and enjoying a binge of Netflix. Now, I have tears and wet mascara streaming down my face.

Nothing triggered this episode. No one insulted me. No one died. There’s nothing sad happening in this exact moment. So why, then, must my body force out tears after three weeks of being unable to cry about anything? Why am I shaking so badly I couldn’t possibly be writing this without autocorrect? Why is it that my chest feels as though an elephant was doing jumping jacks on it? Why is my heart fluttering so fast it could fly away?

Depression and anxiety come in waves for me. I’m currently in one of the longest waves I’ve experienced since high school. I spend most days sitting on my couch in the dark with a blanket wrapped around me. I’ve gotten used to the constant monotony of my life. I felt no emotion for anything, until just now.

During my depressive states, sometimes there’s a shadow that consumes me. Everything bad from my life comes over me and knocks at my door saying, “Hey! Remember me?” This feeling could last a few minutes, like this episode, or it could last for several grueling hours.

This one thankfully only lasted minutes. Now that the tears have dried on my face, I’m going to redo my makeup. I’ll unpause my 15th episode today of “Shameless” and go back to browsing Buzzfeed. Because I have to.

If those of us with depression and anxiety don’t continue on after each episode, no one would be left to tell these stories. No one would be there to inspire the teen who is being bullied, the mom who is overwhelmed with motherhood, the boy who struggles with his identity or the man who works in an office and feels unfulfilled. These people need stories like mine to pursue life.

I used to feel cursed by my illness, but now it feels like my calling. We can not control what we struggle with, but we can control what we do about it afterward. No matter how hard it gets, you have to remember the clouds will clear soon.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: September 27, 2016
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