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A Letter to Read on Bad Days With Mental Illness

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A letter to myself or anyone struggling with mental illness.


I’m calling you babe because I know you probably need tenderness right now. I know it feels like your brain and body are fighting back and it feels like bricks and debris are falling from the buildings surrounding you. I know you feel insignificant and small and terrified. I know inside that head of yours demons are throwing knives from all sides, and while you’re doing your best to dodge them, you’ll get nicked by a few most likely.

I know you’re no stranger to these dark and scary days, but that doesn’t mean you deserve them. I know that may still be hard for you to hear and believe, but it’s the truth, and you need to hear it over and over again till you can listen and not cringe. Not cringe at someone seeing you for the intelligent, caring and determined person you are and not the blank canvas of a girl isolating herself for her own protection.

I know it seems easier to put on your mask and battle your demons in silence. I know it seems easier to avoid reality and the truth of your feelings and throw yourself into work and invest in the goodness of others instead. That’s selling yourself short, and surprise: It’s not as easy as your demons fool you into thinking.

I know days like this remind you of the years when every day felt like a disaster. I know you’re still scared that will be your reality again. They always say history repeats itself, and so far your story only furthers the proof you see echoed around you. It may be true, but not everything repeats itself; remember that.

Remember that despite the tightness in your chest and what feels like poison scurrying through your veins, you are going to survive. Not only survive, but thrive again. You will break down more barriers and surprise your demons with an abundance of strength and light. Listen to the ones who see this in you — no one else.

Listen to the beating of your heart and hear that you are alive. You are alive and you have the chance to fight back. Demons belong to nightmares or horror stories or bad soap operas — not in your head. So fight. Fight back with every weapon and ounce of strength you have left in you.

Fight, and remember, there’s no need to fight alone. Look around and see the army of loved ones; people who care for you are waiting for your call to stand by your side and fight on your behalf. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Find that voice of yours and speak.

Speak up for yourself, and one day you’ll see it gets easier. Speak up for yourself, and one day you’ll have the chance to inspire others to speak up for themselves, as well.

Easier to speak up. Easier to fight. Easier to win.

Breathe. It’s only one bad day. You’ve gotten through plenty of these in the past, you can tackle another. You are brave and strong. You got this. Day seem like an eternity? Just get through the next 10 minutes. Then the next 10 minutes after that. Breathe and repeat until the day is done.

Remember, I love you.


Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: November 19, 2016
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