Mental illness is not who I am. It is a part of who I am but, it does not summarize all that makes me whole as a person. I’m not ashamed that I have severe depression, PTSD or an anxiety disorder. While it has not been easy, I have learned a lot about whom I am. Who I want to be and what is important.
For a time I kept silent about the struggles I faced. As a child 10 – 14, I had no idea about the world. I had no knowledge that what I had been dealing with was something I could seek help for. I did not know I could connect with others facing the same problems. I kept to myself, I thought something was wrong with me and I felt ashamed.
Soon things took a turn, not yet for the better. I lied and hid still, even when forced to deal with the issues. I felt scared and alone. I knew I wasn’t by this point. I had a support system. It had nothing to do with the people in my life. They were not the problem. My brain was.
It simply could not comprehend the love, the support or the help. It was my brains problem, no one else. I suppose that is the main thing in a list of things I want people to know. The issues I faced often limited my ability to turn to those I loved. Eventually in my case, I learned to open up more. It took a long time and wasn’t without trial and error. However it doesn’t mean that today, even now I’m always able to be honest. It happens. I’m not perfect.
I won’t lie and say I didn’t want or feel like ending my life. There were times I threw in the towel. I couldn’t handle the reality I lived in. I felt shame for a long time over that. I enjoy living, I have much to live for but there were occasions where I didn’t feel like it.
I longed for an escape I couldn’t have. Over time, I realized that I didn’t want to die. Ever. I only wanted to pause the game I am playing. To breathe for a moment, collect myself and go through the motions I need to go through. Sometimes I needed to get through this event in my own way; it didn’t mean I wanted to be alone. Another important thing I want people to know and understand.
I won’t deny that there’s a possibility I will find myself in a similar place again. There’s just a difference in the person I am now versus the person from before.
This always comes to my mind when times become difficult to bear. It doesn’t make it any less harder but it’s been a good reminder. While at my lowest points, I may not feel a purpose – I have one. I have a very important purpose in this world; more than one to be honest. I may not know exactly what each purpose is except the one I do know.
I want to help. I want to share. I want to let others know that someone out there cares. Someone exists who understands and has been in similar places. Someone who doesn’t have all the answers, who still falls into the world they can’t escape. Someone who suffers from mental illness.
I’ve been luckier than most. Not everyone is. So, if I can do anything I will. I don’t want you to be in a room with doctors, questioning you and feel as if nothing will get better. I don’t want you to be in a room with doctors who aren’t sure they can save you. I don’t want you to be alone in a room and no longer exist.
It’s okay to be scared and angry. It’s okay to feel sad and unsure. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to fall even when you have help… It’s okay. Your struggles do not make you weak. Scars and stitches do not make you less of a person. Battle scars are not the end of us. We can do it, we will. I want to express that even though things do get better, sometimes there not always better.
Though, in the end all I know is I suffer from mental illness. It does not define me. I won’t let it be the end of me. I’ll find a way to create hope, to bring something more out of this. The universe might have thought it had the last laugh but it was wrong. It can try to destroy me but I’ll repair myself again and again. I accept all that makes me whole, every fraction.
No matter how I fall, how long I stay down or the scars I’ll get along the way; I’m here to fight. I’m here to take the bad and turn it into good. I’ll win this war and there’s nothing that will hold me back.
It may not be much. It might not do anything. However, I offer you through these words an open heart and open arms. No shame, no obligations, no judgment. One step forward doesn’t mean two steps back. We’re just a bit stuck in taking another step forward again. That however, is o k a y.
We are warriors.