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To the People We Turn to When We're Tired of Fighting Our Own Minds

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) can be hidden extraordinarily well. We become masters of disguise, never letting anyone see the terrors we face, the lengths we go to to avoid our imagined catastrophes. You might never know by looking at us, spending time with us, even living with us that we are feeling dread and turmoil, fear and shame. We live with “invisible” illnesses. But they are still illnesses.

Just because we are not struggling for air doesn’t mean we are not out of breath.

Just because we are able to do, and say, and participate doesn’t mean we are not feeling so incredibly weak that we cannot stand.

Just because we are not on life support doesn’t mean we are not fighting for our lives.

You just cannot see it.

Because by the time we actually say something to you, we have exhausted all of our resources. We have used up all of our logic, our deep breaths, our strength. The first time you hear of our panic attack is not the first time we’ve had one. The first time we ask you to help us stop repeating is not the first time we’ve done that ritual. The first time we admit to you how incredibly sad we are is not the first time we’ve cried.

This doesn’t just go for the very first time. It’s every first time. Every first time we start again we are subject to more pain, more fear, more panic. More hyperventilating, more inability to concentrate, more dread. Every time an attack ends, we know there may very well be another one. We do our best to prepare ourselves, we do everything we can to fight it ourselves, but we will need you. We can’t do it all on our own.

We know it’s a lot to handle. It’s extra stress in your life when you have enough of your own. It’s time out of your schedule. It’s moments you could be relaxing from your own long day, concentrating on your own job, enjoying your own life. We know being our friend/our family/our support takes a lot out of you, so, please, not even for one moment, think we don’t appreciate it.

Please know if we weren’t absolutely at the end of our rope, we wouldn’t ask for your help. So many times we can conquer these periods all on our own and you are none the wiser. So many times we fight and you have no idea we were dealing with anything at all. But there are times we are just so depleted, so tired, so exhausted from fighting a war with our own minds that we really and truly need you. Please know we are not trying to run your lives or ruin your lives, for that matter. We are not trying to take your every moment and make it about us. We just really, genuinely need you.

Because we have already faced so very much and fought so very hard on our own.

Just because we are not in water doesn’t mean we are not drowning.

Just because we are not in bed all day doesn’t mean we are not sick.

Just because we hide it from you, doesn’t mean we’ve got it beat.

We need you. We love you. We thank you.

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.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: August 16, 2016
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