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To the People Who Still Need Me in the Midst of My Mental Illnesses

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There have been so many days in the last 10 years that my mental illnesses have taken from me. I have been in the darkest of places, from which I never thought I could recover. My sexual assault altered the course of my life. It, quite literally, marked the day my old self died, and my new self had to start living. For years, I have battled the overwhelming emotions and feelings that come along with surviving an assault. I understand I am a survivor, and yet, there are many days where that title weighs heavily on my heart.

Almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with several chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases. When I thought dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression was enough, those diagnoses hit me like a ton of bricks. When I had just started to find myself, I lost myself again. When I had just rebuilt the relationships I had let crumble and had formed relationships I felt would last a lifetime, the wrecking ball came back with one more massive swing. The building I had renovated came tumbling back down. Now, I am left with another building on the ground, and all I can do is stare at the wreckage, wondering how I’m going to pick up all the pieces again.

I have always felt the worst part of it all was after everything is said and done, I am not needed by everyone who I used to be needed by. Wanted in a social context? Sure. However, there’s a difference between the two. Even though everything happening is out of my control, I still understand it is my actions that make people only casually hang around or make them leave all together.

In the end, my exhaustion means texts get unanswered and calls are unreturned. My anxiety means I cancel plans, or I just don’t make plans at all. It is my weekly dose of Methotrexate on Friday nights that means I will never see anyone past 9 p.m. on Friday nights or before noon on Saturday. Being sick is hard enough. Fighting the isolation it brings is another battle, one  I’m still unsure I can win.

But, there is a small number of you in my life who still feel as though you truly need me. Thank you. Through the pain, the tears and the uncertainty, you are why I still figure out how to keep going. You are what gives me hope, the one thing I have always believed we all need in life to keep surviving.

I know there are so many of you out there who will read this and who will relate. Please, know I understand. Know there is help for you on the days when you don’t feel needed. Someone needs you. Collectively, someone needs our stories and we can help them survive, too.

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. 
If you or a loved one are affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-0656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
Originally published: July 25, 2016
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