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When You're Battling Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

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It’s Thanksgiving, and I have spent the last week trying to mentally prepare myself for this.

Since August, I have been in a treatment facility for my mental illness. I haven’t seen my family since they came to see me in the ICU following my last suicide attempt. I wasn’t planning on being home for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t even planning on being alive for Thanksgiving. I never thought I would survive this long.

The thought of having to put on an act, of having to pretend I’m OK and that the treatment worked, is so incredibly exhausting for me. I know I could just be honest, but that is even more terrifying for me. Despite all I have been through over the past two years, I still try to keep my pain hidden. I still try to act as if everything is fine. I am still ashamed.

Ashamed. Why am I ashamed? I know mental illness is a disease. I know it is not my fault. I just can’t help but feel guilty that I cannot be happy, that I cannot be thankful I am still here for the holidays.

I know the holidays can be a very difficult time for many. I want to remind those of you struggling this holiday season to please remember to take care of yourself. Cancel plans if you need to. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. It’s OK to grieve. You deserve happiness and healing, and that is my holiday wish for you.

Image via Thinkstock.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: November 24, 2016
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