Mental Illness is nearly impossible to describe in words. Mental Illness is in a world of its own; a special; a special kind of darkness. It will hold you captive in an alternate reality. It changes the very way an individual perceives, experiences, and think about themselves, others, and the world. It is a disruption in perception, thought, emotion, and action. However, it looks normal like you and me and possibly the most dangerous.
For me, it becomes much more real. I do not talk about this because it has a stigma in society. For me, it’s a feeling of loneliness. I am sometimes afraid to sleep because I will have odd dreams of losing someone I care about and ending up “alone”. However, just because I can not get sleep one night doesn’t mean I have insomnia.
For a very long time, I never knew why certain things happened to me. I never knew I overthink so much and every point of the day. I never knew why my heart rate will rise in the sight of a whole bunch of people or random and stressful situations that most face easily day by day.
Several months ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression with possible chronic stress. Society paints this picture that all people with some sort of mental health issue looks unhappy or “not doing well”. As we saw from the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, there are no signs or a particular look. You can have everyone around you and have everything you ever dreamed and still feel overwhelmed and the sense of loneliness.
For me, I had it for as long as I can remember. Of course, being bullied every other day did not help either but as a kid, I would come home like nothing has happened and I never wanted to worry or disappoint my dad.
Mental Illness is not as black and white as one may think. I have been suicidal before but not what you may think. I never actually wanted to die nor attempted to do as such. However, I have scars from cuts I have made. I have also thought that no one would actually care if I left this world or those that do if they were better off without me. It is a grey area. It is where I would start crying for no reason at all and then I would be fine an hour later.
Suffering from anxiety does not help either. I always knew I had social anxiety. I worry about everything (and the little details resulting in OCD). However, the chronic stress is the main culprit because I always had to hold so much in. When people tell me that it is all in my head or that you just need to talk with someone or God. What I needed for such a long time is for someone that understands and not someone who actually thinks Mental Illness is just some fabrication or that it will go away.
Mental Illness in this society is not treated like a real illness. We hear people tell anyone with a mental illness to “just think positive”. It is like saying to someone with a broken leg to “just walk it off”. People think that mental illness is a matter of a bad mood and or personality. People believe that depression is simply a form of feeling sad. People think anxiety is a matter of just worrying too much. People think OCD is a behavioral problem for those who are uptight. I suffer from all four. Some are suffering from all four, one, or more.
In reality, it is a lot more exhausting. I am always tired even when I get enough sleep. There are days I am lost within my mind, suffocating on my own emotions sometimes stopping me dead in my tracks for a few seconds. Even saying these things as I write them is hard because I will most likely be discriminated against and have a lot of biased opinions. Instead, they will use it as an adjective undermining both the gravity of the illness and its impact on real living people.