Ann B

@annbawareness | contributor
I have been battling mental illnesses for the majority of my life and have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and a Phobia. I have been in therapy for over 10 years, and it has been a lifesaver. I use writing, poetry, and photography to help me cope with my illnesses and to help me convey my experiences and emotions. I have found that there are times when no words can describe what I am dealing with, so I turn to photography to create a visual representation of my inner battles. Other times, I find I can only describe what it’s like to be in my head through metaphors and poetry. I try to be as open and as vulnerable as possible with my writing. Because, chances are, somebody else out there feels something so similar, but they may not know that they aren’t alone in feeling that. That it is okay to feel however they feel. Being vulnerable and open is something I try to challenge myself with every day because to be that vulnerable is terrifying. But I’m learning that to be vulnerable is the rawest form of strength.
Community Voices

Being Diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder and BPD

Part 1 of 2 I have been dealing with various mental illnesses since before 2008 when I was officially diagnosed. I started out with diagnoses of panic and #Anxiety disorders and then severe #MajorDepressiveDisorder . And eventually, I was diagnosed with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder and #DependentPersonalityDisorder .

I have been diagnosed with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder for many years, and when I got that diagnosis it was like everything I was dealign with clicked into place. My struggles, my feelings, my thoughts, my #Relationships just all suddenly made sense. My intense fear of being alone and being abandoned made sense. And I learned I wasn’t alone in it. Others dealt with this, too. I also learned this is a highly stigmatized diagnosis. My therapist warned me not to research it too much further than learning about it because he knew I’d stumble upon the websites talking about how horrible people with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder are. And I did. I found websites with parents of kids and teenagers with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder talking about how horrible, how evil, how difficult, how uncontrollable their child is. They wrote as if they hated their child. And this was how I felt my parents felt about me. I tried so hard to be an easy enough teenager. I abided by the rules. I didn’t drink. I didn’t cause issues. I internalized most of my struggles and brought them to therapy. That isn’t to say that those who did drink or broke the rules are “bad” or “unmanageable” like these forums suggested. We are all going through intense emotional pain and turmoil and we deal with it as best we can with the resources we have available to us. So it was really difficult to read about how parents viewed their children and teenagers with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . I appreciated that this diagnosis explained a lot of what I was feeling and going through, but I kept it a secret from most because I saw the stigma surrounding #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder at that time. I saw how I may be viewed, and I was scared.

A few months ago, I was also diagnosed with #DependentPersonalityDisorder (DPD). I still struggle with this diagnosis because of the internal and external stigma associated with it. When I was first diagnosed, I thought I was being told that all forms of dependency and needing people are bad and that I shouldn’t need anybody. That I shouldn’t depend on anybody. That attachment is bad. That there is something inherently wrong with me. And I struggled to find articles even on The Mighty with stories about DPD and it was even harder to find stories about people with DPD and #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . My searches mostly came up as articles on #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder or #PersonalityDisorders in general which made me feel even more alone. I kept it a secret from everybody who didn’t already know about it which was only my therapist and psychopharm. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell my friends or other professionals I work with. I rarely talk to even my therapist about how this all makes me feel, but he knows how I feel. I feel intense shame around this diagnosis. Intense embarrassment. Intense fear. Intense #Loneliness . Intense confusion. I feel abnormal, like something is seriously wrong with me. I feel humiliated. And I know in my head that I don’t need to feel those ways and that there is nothing wrong with having DPD. I know it doesn’t mean anything is inherently wrong with me.

I know I don’t need to feel embarrassed. And, yet, I still feel all that I feel. I know that there is no reason to feel ashamed about having DPD or #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . That it doesn’t make me a bad or wrong person. It just makes me a person with certain obstacles I struggle with. There is no need to feel embarrassed or abnormal. These are real clinical disorders that create a lot of pain for the person suffering from them. And often times, people without the disorders don’t understand the pain dealing with these symptom sets creates.

On a logic level, I know there are reasons I have the symptoms I have. A lot of it has to do with growing up with emotionally absent and emotionally neglectful parents. Growing up with verbal #Abuse and an absent father with #Addiction issues. I grew up with inconsistencies and instability. I grew up without any stable ground or anybody to lean on or depend on safely. I didn&#

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Community Voices

Being Diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder and BPD

Part 2 of 2 8217;t have a secure attachment as a child. I feared abandonment in part because I think my father did abandon us and when he came back, he threatened to leave and take our house with him. I grew up being blamed and being told I was “too sensitive.” I grew up being made fun of and judged and criticized because I didn’t fit in with my family, because I was a very feeling person. I grew up with a father with inappropriate habits who failed to hide them well enough. And I grew up with parents who had email chains about me behind my back calling me a “monster” and “out of control” and more. I grew up feeling hated and wrong and abnormal and like a fuck up. I grew up not feeling up to par, feeling stupid, feeling like feelings were wrong to have and worse to share or show. All of this fed into diagnoses of severe #MajorDepressiveDisorder , multiple #Anxiety disorders, #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder , and #DependentPersonalityDisorder .

Part of having DPD for me is that I want to remain dependent. I don’t want to change. I like this dependency. I like needing people. I like leaning fully into the ones I lean fully into. And I’m terrified of sharing that because of the judgement I fear I’ll get from other people (including people possibly reading this article).

I’m trying to internalize what my therapist has told me — that these diagnoses are not who I am. They are symptom sets that I have to grapple with. But they do not define me. I am working on not feeling as much shame around these diagnoses or these struggles. And I’m working on wanting to change. All of these things are massive struggles for me, but I’m taking it day by day and have committed to just trying my best. That’s all I can do — try my best.

My hope is that if there are others out there dealing with DPD and #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder , that this article helps them know they are not alone. The journey to recovery with multiple #PersonalityDisorders can be incredibly complex, but as my therapist has told me, there are ways forward.

Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

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Ann B

7 Gentle Things to Try When You Just Can't With Depression

These days have been happening more and more frequently lately. I wake up feeling anxious or in a ton of emotional pain, and that often will last relentlessly throughout the day until I go to sleep, where I then have restless, anxiety-filled dreams. I often find myself asking: What should I do when the emotional hurts, emotional pain, overload of feelings, depression, anxiety, loneliness, desperation all become too much? What should I do when I want to hurt myself or worse? (If you’re feeling unsafe, get immediate help.) How do I make it through the days where my every move aches and it’s hard to get out of bed, hard to stay moving, hard to be around people because all I want to do is cry all day? What do I do when everything hurts emotionally so much so I start to hurt physically? I feel it in my chest, my throat, my extremities. It’s overwhelming and can be panic-inducing. And I often go toward catastrophizing and spiraling when I can’t get a handle on my feeling state. When I feel this way, here are some things I do: 1. I tell myself to just make it to [blank]. That I just need to survive until [blank]. For me, that’s typically until my next therapy appointment and I can talk and cry things out. Or, I just need to make it one more day, then one more day again, etc. If I just take it one day or session at a time, things don’t get easier, but they become less daunting. They feel less impossible to achieve. It doesn’t feel like I’m committing to forever, but just until I can talk things through again and recommit until next time. 2. I breathe. I know this is cliché, and it can feel really frustrating to me when someone tells me to “just breathe.” So, I won’t say that. Breathing doesn’t fix everything, but sometimes it can help lessen the burden of pain and emotion I feel inside. Sometimes, it can make getting from one moment to the next a little easier. And sometimes it doesn’t work at all. I’ve learned various types of breathing, and one I find very helpful is resonance frequency breathing. To do this, you breathe in lightly and breathe out completely and hold your breath until you feel your breathing reflex. Then repeat. You can do this for however long and it typically equates to three to seven breaths per minute. 3. I try to exercise/move. Even if I can only get five minutes in that day, it helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I got on the elliptical for five minutes. I went for a five-minute walk. Anything. It doesn’t have to be hard and heavy. It can be light and easy and be a huge accomplishment. 4. I try to be forgiving of myself. I try to be forgiving of what I can or can’t do. For example, if I can’t get five minutes of exercise in, that’s OK. If I struggle moving, that’s OK. If all I can do is cry, that’s OK. I’m still alive, and that’s all that counts. 5. I cry. I feel my feelings. For me, I often need to release my feelings or they’ll just build up, causing even more pain both physically and emotionally. And as painful and scary as that release can be, it can be helpful. 6. I lower my expectations of myself. I grew up in a household with high expectations and perfectionistic tendencies. So, this is something I need to work on constantly. When I am severely depressed or in a lot of emotional pain or just feeling a lot or am seriously not OK, I try to tell myself it’s OK to feel this way (it doesn’t feel OK, but it is OK). That whatever I do today, as long as I’m keeping myself safe, is OK. I don’t need to conquer the world, I just need to survive today, this hour, this moment. 7. If I’m unsafe, I’ll reach out for help. I have a promise with my therapist that if I become unsafe, I’ll contact him before doing anything and he can get me help. I’m sure there are more things I do when I’m not OK, and sometimes I can do all of these things, and sometimes I can barely do one of these things. And that’s OK. Life can be painful. Living with mental illness can feel impossible sometimes, so hopefully even one of these things can help you when you, too, are struggling.

Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

19 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

19 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

19 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

19 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

19 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

1. I am trying.

I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

2. It isn’t linear.

Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

3. I will regress.

Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

4. Treatment is really difficult.

Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

9. I’m worth it.

I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

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