I feel like I need to talk to someone today, but, unfortunately, I don’t really feel like I have anyone to talk to about this. So humor me, will you?
I’ve been thinking a good deal about mental health lately, for a number of reasons. I’ve been struggling with my own mental health issues pretty much my entire life and have watched people who are close to me struggle as well. I can’t speak for other people, but I can tell you from my own personal experience that it’s fucking exhausting. Even with medication, therapy, rehab, etc. it’s something that you have to actively work on every single day. There is no magic treatment that will make it go away. Even when you’re in recovery, even after you’ve learned all the tools you need to cope and make your life better, it doesn’t go away. There is still that voice in the back of your head whispering negative things, telling you that no one loves you, that no one cares, that there’s no hope, that you should just give up. For some people, the voice is different. It tells them that they should worry about things beyond their control (the “what ifs?”). It tells some people that they’re not good enough and that they should starve themselves or binge eat to feel better. It tells some people that one more drink or one more hit won’t hurt…the list goes on and on.
Am I saying that therapy and medication is useless? Hell no. Without medication and therapy I probably wouldn’t be alive right now. Without those things I never would have found the energy or motivation to even consider recovery. BUT, that being said, even with those things, having to spend every day battling your own brain is still a major challenge.
What’s even more frustrating is that most of us never get any credit for how hard we work every single day to combat our mental health issues. Nobody ever recognizes that some days it’s an achievement just to get out of bed and get dressed. Nobody ever pats you on the back and says “Good job” when you actually show up to a party, after your social anxiety has literally been making you sick to your stomach. Nobody ever applauds you for eating a sandwich after you’ve been arguing back and forth with yourself about whether or not you should skip dinner. Nobody ever buys you flowers and says “I hope you feel better soon,” when you’re having a rough couple of weeks. They will, however, get frustrated with you when you don’t show up to the party because you’re too nervous. They will get frustrated with you when you can’t get out of bed and insist that you’re being lazy. They will tell you to “just eat something” when you’re too afraid to. They’ll tell you about how tired or stressed they are when you try to talk about how you’re feeling.
Because you can’t see mental illness, people simply don’t acknowledge it the way they do physical illness. Sometimes people try to understand and be supportive, but most of the time they just pretend it doesn’t exist. People only acknowledge that you have a real problem when it begins to affect them personally or, even worse, after it’s too late.
It can be so disheartening. 😦
To be honest, I’ve been feeling really stressed the last few weeks and today I’m feeling pretty beaten down. Due to all the stress and those shitty voices in my head, constantly telling me that I’m not good enough, my eating habits have become pretty messed up again. I’m exhausted from constantly having to battle with myself about food and body image. I’m struggling, but I just plaster a smile on my face most days and go about my business because the second I slip up I know that everyone else will blame me for being this way.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for listening. And if you are also struggling at the moment, please know that you aren’t alone. ❤