If You Feel Like You're 'Losing' to Your Mental Illness, This Is Your Reason to Stay
I’m sure you’ve stumbled across the photograph online, saying that if you’re looking for a reason not to hurt yourself, kill yourself or stay that “this is it.” I’m not going to post a photo. I’m going to tell you, one on one, why I need you to stay.
I know a lot of you reading this are struggling with mental health problems. We are all at different stages of our war with mental illness; some of us, however, are losing the battles. And it’s never simply “life is too hard.” It feels as though life is against us. It feels like everything we do is wrong, and slowly we end up thinking maybe the “something wrong” is us.
When you’re losing a battle, it can feel like your existence is the problem, and the only way to “fix it” is ending your life.
I’m here to tell you that’s not the answer.
I, too, have lost battles before. I’ve relapsed and I’ve gone into dark places. I’ve been admitted into hospitals and I’ve attempted suicide, with plans, without plans. I have hurt myself and I have hated myself. I’m just going to be straight with you: it sucks. You feel alone, and you feel like you’re suffocating. You need a release. I get it. What you’re feeling, although terrible, is not unnatural or weird. It’s OK to feel this way.
But it’s not OK to act on these feelings. Although it’s best to talk to a therapist, or head to the hospital or even call the suicide lifeline, our society will still frown upon mental illness. It’s covered and dipped in stigma. We need the help for the terrors in our heads, but we’re too afraid to be called crazy or to go on medications. We’re too afraid of what others think.
For so long I was too ashamed to get help. It was easier to live in pain and to let myself suffer. After a suicide attempt and fight with a former partner, I ended up being arrested and held on a psychiatric hold. I stayed in the mental hospital for some time. I’m not proud of what happened, and I’m not going to sugar coat it, it wasn’t easy. But it was a blessing in disguise, and the greatest thing to happen to me. Because now, I am open about my mental health problems. I know I have a support system and doctors in my corner. I can openly speak to my doctor about medications and treatment options, and I can advocate. And I know now there is no shame in getting treatments for having a mental illness.
Now, I want you to forget the rest of the world. It’s only you and me:
Your health, your stability and your happiness come before anything else.
There’s no shame in being “crazy.” We are sick. And sometimes we need extra attention, we need extra care. It is OK. You can seek the extra help. I need you. I need to know you’re OK. I need you to know through all of this, through all of these scary thoughts, there are calmer days ahead. Please breathe. And please call for help.
If you need a reason to stay, please let this be your reason.
Please don’t hurt yourself. You are beautiful and you are loved. And I will be devastated if you’re gone. Keep fighting, stay strong. It’s OK to lose a battle; but please keep fighting the war. And please know, I’m on your side, fighting with you.
Follow this journey on Taylor’s site.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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