Content warning: brief mention of suicidal ideation.
Written by Della Ramcharan.
Having mental illness is a challenge for me.
Not just sometimes, but basically everyday. I often find myself overly emotional or paranoid. Having anxiety and depression is hard for me. It’s like part of my mind is fighting to be alone and just waiting for my expiration date and for everyone to eventually leave me, and the other half of my brain worries too much, and makes me paranoid about how people view me. Makes me think that I’m the problem in every situation.
It makes me anxious for some of the most normal day to day activities. Most of it I don’t tell my friends and family. That’s because I’d like to keep the comments to a minimum because often times they are trying to be helpful but they don’t know the right things to say or they don’t think that what I’m experiencing is real. I like to think that they don’t understand what I’m going through, and that’s just why they make those kinds of remarks. They simply don’t understand. And honestly I wouldn’t want them to experience anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness.
Some of my experiences with comments from other people make me really sad, and sometimes I start to feel like less of a human being, like I’m not good enough. It literally hurts my heart especially if the person is someone I love or think highly of.
Some people may think I’m overreacting or exaggerating my emotional experiences, but I’m not. They can sometimes even leave me feeling like I should die. Sometimes people believe when you say that you’re hurting it has to be only from a physical wound that you can see, treat and it would eventually heal up. But mental illness isn’t like that. You cannot see it from the outside. I smile everyday. I try to hold it all together. But sometimes it feels like I’m going to have a panic attack. Those are scary; they take so much energy from me and make me wish I could just pass out because of the chest pains, excessive breathing etc.
I believe a lot of persons who are smiling on the outside are hurting on the inside. Sometimes they may not even know how to get help. Or maybe they have given up because fighting against yourself everyday is a hard task. You’re tired of being tired all the time. Where are the magic pills to cure these feelings? In the end, I am allowed to address my feelings and insecurities: that’s something I would afford anyone, so why not be understanding towards myself?
My message to friends, family, outsiders who may know or meet someone with mental illness is to not judge the person, listen to them because that’s all the person might need at the moment to feel better. Sympathize with the individual.
We aren’t asking for a ticket or free pass for anything. We work hard at the things in our lives. But comfort, reassurance, love, feeling of safety, feeling a sense of belonging can make our day a bit brighter. Thank you to all those who know a person or persons with mental illness and don’t discriminate, don’t treat the individuals as if they are worthless, and offer a shoulder to lean on or cry on.
We appreciate when you take time out of your busy schedule to reaffirm us, listen to us, talk with us, spend time with us because we can be really lonely.
The more compassionate, kind and understanding we can be of people with mental health struggles, the more likely we are to help them. If you or someone you know needs help, please visit our directory of free and reduced cost resources: here. Please ask for help if you need it. You matter.