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To the Friends and Family Who Wish My Mental Illness Could be Cured

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I agree with you. 

My life would be so much easier without my obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Every moment wouldn’t be a battle.

The thing is though, I do have mental illnesses. And they can’t be cured. I have them and I will always have them. They aren’t going to disappear or go away. I can learn how to manage them better, but I will still have them. They are a part of me. They are a part of who I am. 

What I am trying to say is that when you’re looking for a cure or another therapy I need to try to live a better life, I feel rejected.  I know you do this out of love. You want me to be happy and live a fulfilled life. I want that too. I want it badly. The problem is your desire for me to constantly get better puts a lot of strain on me. I feel rejected. I feel like I am not doing enough. I feel like I am constantly letting someone down. If I make strides against my OCD, why haven’t I made strides against my depression? If I could get out of bed yesterday, why can’t I get out of bed today? I know you’re worried about me. So am I. But the pressure to constantly show I’m doing better makes me feel broken. I am not broken. I do not need to be fixed. 

When you tell me I need to keep pounding away at my mental illnesses, it feel like you’re telling me I’m not good enough how I am. Do I need help? Do I need to keep working hard to not react to OCD triggers? Do I need to keep fighting my depression? Yes to all of those questions. I am not saying I don’t need help. I’m not saying I’m fine. I’m not saying to just leave me alone. All I am saying is, I don’t feel heard. I don’t feel listened to. I feel like every point I provide is viewed as my OCD or depression speaking for me. I feel pressured to constantly have good days. I don’t constantly have good days. I have depressive periods. I have pain. I feel like I’m constantly letting someone down. Please realize I can’t be cured. Please understand I can change the behaviors, but the thoughts are still there and are harder to control. 

I’m asking for more understanding. I’m asking you to celebrate small things. I’m asking you to realize some days all I can do is sleep. I’m asking you to realize taking a shower is an accomplishment. Doing my laundry is an accomplishment. Every time I’m able to get out of bed when I’m depressed is an accomplishment. I need you to understand you don’t understand what it feels like to have a mental illness. I need you to understand it’s part of me and always will be. I need you to understand I love you for wanting me to get better, but it also makes me think I’ll never be “better” enough. I will never make everyone happy, and that scares and hurts me. Please try to understand where I’m coming from. What I need from you most is acceptance. 

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 18, 2016
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