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To Those Who Question the Validity of My Mental Illness

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To the people who question the reality of mental illness,

I would like you to understand how I live my life day to day. My mental illness interferes with every aspect of my life. I wake up, and I am immediately overwhelmed with thoughts.

Thoughts of:

“Who died while I was asleep?”

“Is everyone OK?”

“What time is it? Did I miss the whole day?”

“Am I late for some unknown appointment?”

In between these fun thoughts (dripping with sarcasm), I am realizing I do not have enough energy to get out of bed. I slept for 13 hours last night and I am so exhausted — all of this thinking has already worn me out. I then spend the next hour or two in my bed on my phone, trying to convince myself to stay in bed while another part of me is trying to convince myself to get up.

I spend this whole time, and sometimes even longer, trying to avoid the ache in my stomach that urges me to eat and the constant pressure in my bladder from too much to drink. I will stay in my bed until I cannot handle the pain of them anymore. Once I get out of bed, I put on the bare minimum amount of clothes. I go to the bathroom, the whole time trying to convince myself to assuage the pain in my stomach. I ultimately decide not to eat. This way I can go back and cower in my room.

I spend many more hours there, sitting in my bed binge-watching Netflix. I finally cannot handle the pain in my stomach anymore. So I eat. I eat a lot of food, and it is junk food, pizza or pizza rolls usually.

After this, it is already about 2 p.m. I tell myself I have to get something done today. So I put in a load of laundry. It usually takes me hours to work up the strength to do it. I complete one load of laundry. I feel as though I ran a marathon.

After the laundry, I have no energy left to do anything else. I have no energy to cook dinner, but I know my fiance deserves it to be ready for him. So my mind starts up on, “You are not good enough for him,” “Keep treating him like this and he will leave you,” “You are a failure,” “All you could do was a load of laundry,” “You are disgusting,” “You need to get a hold of yourself” and so on.

All through the day, my mind is making me feel bad about doing nothing, for slacking in my responsibilities. All the while taking all of the energy I need for doing those tasks away from me. Finally, I feed us. I do not know how I do it.

After dinner, my fiance has to convince me I am not a failure, and even though it may seem like it to me, there is nothing wrong with me. My fiance saves me each day. He wakes me from these thoughts. I have tried everything to get them out of my head.

I learned how to knit, and I am learning how to crochet. I do word searches, and I play solitaire, all while watching TV or doing a few other tasks. I need to have at least two things happening in front of me to keep out of my own head.

I have not yet found a way to control these thoughts no matter how hard I try. Before bed, I take my pills, one for the depression and anxiety, one for the heartburn the anxiety causes and one allergy pill to try to prevent a migraine in the middle of the night. We lie down for sleep, and my fiance is asleep within minutes. Whereas, I will stay awake for many more hours, stuck in my head and using every available distraction to keep me from hurting myself or from having a panic attack.

I usually decide that if I keep this up I will wake him, and he will hate me. So I leave the room. I stay awake for hours by myself stuck inside of my own head. There is no escape.

To those who still think I am just lazy and have little willpower, there is nothing more I would like in the world than to be the perfect woman, perfect fiance and perfect daughter for everyone. I work so hard every day just to achieve the most minuscule of tasks.

So when I get something done, lay off. I know you could have done more, but this is an achievement for me! This is something I should feel proud of. I know you do not understand how this all works and neither do I. All I know is that it is not up to me. I do not get to will it away. My mental illness is valid.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 21, 2016
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