What I Wish You Understood About My Mental Illnesses
I am not a well person.
While I’ve had endometriosis since I was 16, and I’ve had asthma since forever, my long-term more “serious” chronic health issues are far more recent. They were created by a bout of unfortunate illnesses: glandular fever, meningitis, and then, finally, encephalitis.
Due to chronic fatigue, I am often always tired, no matter how much sleep I get. I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere and at any time.
I wish you understood that.
I wish you understood me when I say I’m exhausted.
I wish you understood how difficult it is, at times, to do the most basic tasks.
I wish you understood that no matter how much I want to work full-time, doing so takes an incredible toll on me.
I wish you understood that it takes so much extra effort do the activities you deem “normal.”
I wish you understood that I now experience severe anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
I wish you understood that my mental illness is real — that I see a therapist and I take medication.
I wish you understood this is real: I am not depressed or anxious in an attempt to gain “attention” or “sympathy.”
I wish you understood how difficult it is for me to trust now, after being betrayed the way I was.
I wish you understood how difficult it can be for me to go out with people I truly trust — let alone when I meet new people.
I wish you understood how deeply those people affected me, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot just “get over it.” After all, it wasn’t just them. It was also all those that never listened.
I wish you understood that sometimes I have self-harmed in the past, not for attention, but I wanted some control over the never-ending pain I was feeling.
I wish you understood that when I tried to kill myself, I felt like I was drowning. It wasn’t for attention. How could it be, when, until recently, only my husband knew what I’d done? It wasn’t for attention. It was because, in that moment, I truly believed no one cared. No one was listening. I felt alone.
I wish you understood that suicide, or attempted suicide, isn’t about you – even if it feels that way. It’s about the person who feels depressed.
I wish you understood how hard it is for people with mental illnesses to speak out and the extreme courage that bravery takes.
But mostly, I wish you understood that depression and anxiety aren’t things a person can just “snap out of.”
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
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Image by m-gucci