Today I’m going to talk about something I’m incredibly passionate about:
Mental Health. And by extension, mental illnesses.
Now, I preface this every time I talk about these things, but I can only ever speak from experience. I can’t speak for EVERY mentally ill person in the world. That said, come with me on a short journey through my experiences so far.
Two years ago I attempted suicide. I overdosed on sleeping pills and was about to jump off an overpass when a stranger pulled me back and convinced me to let her help me. If not for this woman (whom I’ll refer to as Angel from now on), I wouldn’t be alive to write this.
There are a few things to learn from this.
1. A stranger’s kindness and selflessness can make a world of a difference.
Several people saw me that night and not one stopped until Angel. And I’m in no way angry at any of them but it just shows how a single person can change the end of story; to keep it from ending too soon.
2. Mental illness doesn’t always look like your expectations of it.
During this time I was acting exactly how I always would. I would joke around and talk and never once let slip that I was suffering. The stereotype that to be depressed you had to “look” depressed is so dangerous. Because I didn’t think I was depressed. I just thought I was broken in some way that couldn’t be fixed. But the truth is, you never know. Not until see it up close.
Because depression isn’t always crying non-stop. But sometimes it is. It isn’t always hiding scars, fresh and old. But sometimes it is. It isn’t always locking yourself away for hours or even days at a time, isolating yourself. But sometimes it is.
Anxiety isn’t always rocking back and forth on the floor. But sometimes it is. It isn’t always breathing so hard you almost think there isn’t enough air. But sometimes it is. It isn’t always freezing on the spot and not being able to move. But sometimes it is.
The list goes on and on but the fact is, everyone experiences mental illnesses differently. People can of course share similar experiences but we’re so diverse that it’s hard to believe that we all react the same exact way to our mental illnesses.
3. There’s no such thing as being “sick enough” to get help.
I mean this sincerely. If you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health then please reach out. Would you expect someone with a broken leg to wait for the pain to get so intense they pass out to go to a doctor? If someone said, “Cancer runs in my family but I’m not that sick,” wouldn’t you want them to get checked as soon as possible? Just because you can’t see some illnesses doesn’t mean they aren’t there. You can look at someone and think ,”They aren’t really sick.” But that wouldn’t change a thing because to that person their illness might just be the most real thing in their life.
Now, here I am, a full two years since the night I wanted to die. I still struggle on this uphill climb but I’m better.
Am I okay? Well, that depends on what you define as “okay”. But sometimes I am. The days I feel like nothing, the days I fall into those black holes, are getting further apart. I still have those days but I’m getting better.
During the time of the anniversary, I like reflect. I think about who I was and who I am now. I try my hardest to be gracious towards myself, to be proud of all I’ve done, to give myself credit where credit is due. It’s not easy. But it’s important to know exactly what I’m capable of and it shows me how much more I know I can do.
To you, Dear Reader, if you are struggling or know someone else who is then remember this:
You are enough.
You are strong.
You will get through this.
You are not weak for asking for help.
You are capable of incredible things but no one expects you to do it every second of every day. And you shouldn’t expect that of yourself.
Take care of yourself, I love You.
Until next time x