I had mentioned that I had wrote a piece describing what it’s like living with my invisible mental illness for a friend and I thought that if the whole reason behind this blog was that essay I should probably share it, so here it is..
Imagine your in a room with people you know and love. Everyone INCLUDING YOU is laughing and having a great time. But unbeknownst to all the people in this room, your mentally drowning. Your chest is tight, you can hardly catch your breath, your clammy and the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Your thought process is something like this..
“there are so many people here… Why am I even here…they invited you.. I bet these people don’t even notice I’m here.. no one actually wants you to be here… why did my girlfriend just walk away.. she must be mad at me or maybe she thinks that that other girl is more attractive.. no she’d never do that to you… are you crazy everyone will hurt you..no no NO”
That’s been my life for the past 10 years. I was diagnosed with high functioning depression and anxiety along with a stress induced eating disorder right about the age of 22. On the exterior I seem like my life is for the most part together but in my head my life is constantly falling apart. I live with constant doubt of myself, distrust of others, layered with loss of appetite sprinkled with paranoia on the daily. My mind makes me think that everyone including my loved ones are against me or in constant judgment of me and my decisions. I’m constantly unsure of myself and come off as bitchy and unapproachable but in reality I’m just trying to get through whatever is going on I my head at the time. I’ve told myself for years that these are my problems and my problems alone and not to burden others with them. So I go to work and make face with my clients and I pretend that nothing’s wrong and for the most part I’ve gotten good at hiding it. I joke with coworkers and laugh and carry on but but I’m dying inside. When I get home it all wakes back up and I’m once again flooding with anxiety and worry. Even though my work day seems to go smoothly, there’s not a moment in my day where my stomach isn’t constantly in knots, my mind isn’t clouded and I’m not internally trembling. In romantic relationships, my mind constantly goes to mistrust and being left out.
“Why doesn’t she want me around?… is she doing something she doesn’t want me to know?.. why is she being so distant?”
I constantly ask if they’re ok or ask what’s wrong and it normally and quite understandably drives them nuts. I’m notorious for self sabotaging my relationships which would otherwise be happy. I’m a ball of insecurity and low self esteem and the most fucked up part… is that I know that these thoughts are completely made up and crazy!!!
The few people that do know my struggle often ask why I don’t “vent” or get it out. Would you want people to know the arguments that you have in your head with yourself? Would you want them to know that you constantly think the worst of yourself? Or that you make up scenarios in your head that includes them screwing you over or thinking the worst of you. Or even worse than that.. telling your peers and having them downplay your mental illness “oh yea I get anxiety too” “calm down” “it can’t be that bad” “just get over it”. Literally crushing words… if it were only that easy to just ‘get over it’ or ‘calm down’. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve died a little more inside every time those words are said to me. Most of the time these are things your ashamed about and don’t want people to know about because you don’t want that stigma of being “crazy” or “psycho” and its something I’ve been called many times in my life to the point of me agreeing because I don’t know what else to say, I can’t defend myself because to a certain extent I guess it’s true. I’m 32 years old and I have an INVISIBLE mental illness but it doesn’t define who I am it makes me that much stronger to fight the storms ahead of me.
Tbis was probably one of the scariest/relieving things I had ever written about. I had to be honest and vulnerable and I must admit it felt pretty good. It made it real. Always remember your struggle is your own and no one can tell you that it’s wrong or right. I hope you all the brightest weekend full of love and light!