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To Those Who Hide Their Mental Illness

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You; yes, you reading this. The person behind the screen everyone looks up to; the hardworking one. The productive one. The one who’s always there for others to give a helping hand. The one who delivers. The one who performs. The one who’s known for their natural warmth in making people feel comfortable. Known for their wittiness, known for their love.

You; yes, you behind the screen, reading this.

Unknown for the restless nights you’ve had for years. Unknown for the tears you’ve shed behind closed doors. Unknown for the thoughts of suicide that can sometimes leave you hanging by a thread.

You; yes, you.

Unknown for the invisible weight you carry in your heart and mind.

Unknown for the invisible foe that speaks only to you. Unknown for the truth behind your scars. Unknown for the truth behind those eyes; “I’m just tired; life, am I right?” “No, don’t worry, it’s just a common headache, and backache, and neck ache… Yes, I’m all right.”

Unknown for the truth behind the silence; “Yes, I’m down with the flu again, darn virus.” “I’ll be away… so I want you to keep this safe for me, all right?”

You; yes, you who’s reading this. Me; yes, me writing who’s this. We; yes, we who relate to this.

We are the known unknowns.

To all the known unknowns, you are not alone. Don’t downplay your symptoms, don’t deny your weeds among the roses. Not all of us stay home or recuperate at a hospital. We walk, we talk, we breathe amongst you, but inside we feel dead. We get As in our exams. We get As in our performance appraisals, but we fail to overcome our foe.

We are the known unknowns. The ones who are always drowning, but never dying. Who are too weak to swim to shore, but who are also too strong to let go.

Like a swan that sails the lake with exterior calm. If only you could dip your head into the water to see its frantic paddling to keep itself afloat.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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

Originally published: June 5, 2017
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