The Mighty Logo

The Day Your Life Begins With Mental Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’m so sorry you’re struggling right now. I know how it feels. I understand. Well, I don’t understand fully because I’m not inside your head. However, I do understand to an extent. I understand how it feels when you think no one cares and no one understands.

Because of this, you feel incredibly alone. You could be in a room full of people, and you’d still feel so, so alone, and that’s one of the worst things. Even though people do understand, no one can fully understand what goes on inside your head, and it makes you feel even worse.

What is your head telling you right now? Is it telling you that you’re fat and ugly? Is it telling you don’t deserve to eat? Is it telling you no one loves you or wants you around? Is it telling you that you’re better off hurting yourself and dead?

Your head is a liar. All the negative things it’s telling you are untrue. Your head can be a manipulative, horrible place to be. I promise you. You are so much better than that. It’s OK to recognize you aren’t doing well or that you’re struggling. It’s good to recognize your thoughts and feelings, but please, don’t let them drag you down. It can be so easy to get caught up in the negative thoughts and allow them to drag you right back down. Even if they do, you pick yourself right back up and push on.

I’m not saying it’s easy because it’s not. It’s really, really hard. It’s so hard to carry on living when you’re tired of fighting your thoughts constantly. You’re tired of eating, drinking, walking, talking and even breathing. Everything just feels hard, and because it feels so hard, it makes you not want to carry on. You just want to curl up under your duvet and sleep until all this passes. Even worse, you want to sleep and never wake up.

Then comes the self-destructive behaviors. Your head starts to tell you that you deserve to hurt yourself. It tells you that no one is ever going to love you anyway, and you’re worthless. You hate yourself because of it.

I have everything. I have a good family and good friends. I have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.

You start to think this over and over again.

There are people worse off than me! I’m just being pathetic.

The thoughts go round and round in your head until you can’t take it anymore. So you turn to self-destructive behaviors, just this once, but it’s never just this once though, is it? You said that years ago.

I promise you this will pass. I know you’re probably thinking, “Everyone says that and it hasn’t gotten any better!” I’m just another one of those people, right? I was like you once. I used to get so mad at the people who told me, “It’ll get better.” I hated them, and I thought they were lying to me. However, they weren’t. I just couldn’t see it at the time.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m nowhere near recovered. Yet, slowly but surely, I’m learning to love both myself and life once again. When I get dragged down, I pick myself back up, dust myself off and push through all the negative thoughts. Now, I’ve realized I’m so much better than my thoughts will ever be. I’m not saying they’ve gone away. They’re still there, but I’ve just learned how to cope with them.

It is possible to recover, and I’m living proof of that. Like I said before, I was once like you. I had no hope, and I certainly didn’t think I could ever recover. Since I felt so hopeless, I didn’t want to live anymore. However, with the help of professionals, my friends and family, I’ve realized recovery is really worth it.


Life can be such a beautiful thing, but you have to experience it first. There are so many life experiences and opportunities out there, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Whether that be traveling the world, swimming with dolphins, volunteering, anything.

Recovery is waiting for you, waiting for you to take that step between where you are now and getting better. It’s going to be one hell of a journey, an emotional roller coaster even, but if I can promise you one thing, then it’ll be this: It’ll be so worth it.

You’re going to have bad days. You’re only human after all, but the day you tell yourself you want recovery and that you don’t want to be a slave to your illnesses anymore, is the day that your life truly begins.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 23, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home