If you’re currently struggling with your mental health, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone.
According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness every year.
The second thing you need to know is that everyone deals with mental illness differently – and there’s no shame in how you cope. Some choose to do so naturally or through forms of therapy, while others take medication.
There’s no shame in how you cope. The crucial thing is that you’re choosing to do so.
But it’s also important to know that it’s totally okay if you’re not coping.
Living with a mental illness is bloody hard. It can be debilitating, life-consuming. It can suck the life out of you and make you feel as though you’re simply existing as opposed to really living.
It can be horrible. It can tire you out, making you need to sleep for hours and still having no energy when you finally wake up. It can isolate you, making you feel lost and alone.
It can also make you feel angry. Livid, even. Totally unable to control your emotions and leaving you racked with guilt when you finally get them all out of your system.
But possibly the worst thing about mental illness is that it’s totally out of your control. It doesn’t care who it affects, or how much it does so. And knowing that you can’t control the way you feel is hard.
Understand that it is hard, and stop putting pressure on yourself to overcome it. Don’t push yourself to do things that you feel incapable of doing just in attempt to escape your mental illness.
It’s so easy to feel guilty for your mental illness. As though you can help it. That it’s your fault. But it’s not. Remember that.
And for anyone who tells you any different? Rid yourselves of them. These people are toxic.
Do not listen to anyone who tells you that your mental illness is not real, nor valid. Ignore the people who suggest that your illness is curable through silly techniques. And while you’re doing so, focus on what’s beneficial to you.
If that’s attending weekly therapy sessions, that’s great. Keep at it. Focus on this being a positive way to ease you in remission. And note that I do say remission – and not recovery.
Most mental illnesses are chronic. They are long-term, persistent illnesses that never leave. Sure, you may have periods – weeks, months or even years – where you feel okay, but this doesn’t mean you’re cured. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever struggle again. It simply means you’re in remission.
This is a great thing to remember – because it means less pressure is put on you to get through it and never have another wobble. You realise it’s about learning to cope rather than magically getting rid of all your issues.
If you choose medication to cope, that’s totally fine. It’s whatever works best for you. Medication doesn’t make you weak, nor inferior. It means that you’ve realised you’re struggling and you’re doing something about it to help yourself. And that’s amazing. You should be congratulated. Supported.
If you’re currently struggling with mental illness, I’m so sorry. It sucks, it really does. I know right now it may seem like things won’t ever get better, that you won’t ever find the light out of a horrendously dark place – but it does, and you will.
You just have to keep pushing. Keep protecting yourself. And by protecting yourself, what I mean is really look after yourself. Focus on self-care. Be selfish. Don’t do the things that aren’t beneficial to your mental health, and make time for the things that are.
I know that when you’re struggling, it may seem like people don’t understand. And in all honesty, there are some people who don’t. But don’t let this deter you from speaking out – because there are people out there who understand down to the ground, and will be able to advise you and support you. Don’t stop searching for these people, because when you finally find them, you will feel so rewarded.
But if you don’t want to talk to anyone – that’s fine too. Sometimes it’s nice just to have some time to yourself. Not everyone likes to talk about their emotions.
There is no right or wrong way to handle mental illness, and you should never feel pressured to feel like there is. No matter how you try to help yourself, all that matters is the fact that you’re trying.
And even if you can’t try right now, don’t let this put you off from doing so in the future. Don’t let this stop you from seeing a happier future for yourself.
Just know that no matter what, you are not alone. There are thousands upon thousands of people who feel just like you. There are people out there who understand. There are people out there who want to help. There are people out there who really can.
But most importantly, remember that you are not your mental illness. Remember that it is just a part of you. You are stronger than it. It may not seem like it right now, but one day it will.
That day will come eventually – just don’t stop fighting for it.