I both know friends and family with mental health problems and i´ve had my fair share of them aswell. This is the main reason why i´m writing this blog post, on this day, on this hour, during these minutes. risking that i´ll be seen as an attention seeking twat.that only posts this to give a facade of having problems you might think i know nothing about. Here is the thing though. I do know what i´m talking about.
So.... why am i talking about this topic? Well, the reason is that more awareness need to be spread about how it is to live with menal illnesses but also other disabilities and the struggles and misconcetptions we face on a daily basis in out lives, when walking down the streets, looking in newspapers, tv shows and social media.
What do you think about when you imagine a person who´s struggling with mental illnesses like different types of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, multiple personality disorders, body dysmorphic disorder and so many others? Maybe you imagine a teenager ( or adult ) just claiming to have these problems just to recieve attention? Or some kind of looney that should be locked up? Or you think that "it can´t be that bad? if someone have anorexia it is just to eat normally and gain weight, if you have anxiety you just need to stay calm since everyone experience anxiety, if you have depression it´s just to be posetive and if you have problems with self injury, just don´t do it"
I will in a polite manner ask you to please try to see this question and rethink, is mental illnesses for just attention seeking? Is it as simple as just to stop? Should everyone be locked away as soon as we find out that they have a mental illness?
The natural response should be no. Let me guide you through how a day with several mental illnesses can look like. DISCLAIMER! It´s different for everyone and even though i chose to write about depression, eating disorders, anxiety body dysmorphia and ocd, there are a ton of other mental illnesses.
You wake up in the morning, feeling like the thought of living another day is unbearable, you don´t want to get up but to only dissapear. When you do wake up the counting starts, 1,2,3,4, repeat until it feels "just right" since the counting alleviates the anxiety... for a while atleast. Then the other thoughts start to come, what if i walk out of this room and notice that everything is ruined? what if everyone are dead? Thoughts of anxiety keeps tumbling around in your brain. Reality check, you need to continue with your normal daily routine, same as allways. After a visit to the bathroom where you scrub your hands in hot water until they feel "clean enough" and the ritual is complete, you take out the scale, feeling like your mood for the whole day will be based on the number that will be displayed. Deep breaths, first putting one foot on the scale then the other one. You close your eyes praying that the number will be lower, less volume to fill up. you open your eyes and stare down. 1 kilo gained. You break down and cry, feeling the fat crawling beneath your skin. Why why why did i eat that extra slixe of of bread yesterday? That must be the cause. I should only have one eggwhite or an apple with my coffee for breakfast today. Just to keep my brain alert for school/work. You go through the normal routine with applying makeup ( if that´s your thing ) eating the egg you planned to eat, and then you are faced with the next challenge. Your body dysmorphia and getting dressed. You try on the ten outfits you layed out the night before since they felt ok then. But after each outfit you see each flaw, each imperfection even more clearly. You try on even more clothes, feeling the tears burning behind your eyelids. After over 2 hours you finally find something that isn´t feeling too horrible and you try to get yourself back into control, counting 1,2,3,4 repeat. While running to school/work since you´re late as usual.
You walk to school and work with the same anxious thoughts ringing in your head. What if I accidently don´t watch closely enough and maybe i´ll make a cyclist fall and get injured, or maybe i´ll walk into a car and make a bump in it. But then the depression and the suicidal thoughts kick in, and you think "but maybe it´s the best thing if the car just kills me" No, push it away. go back to counting, counting the amount of steps at the moment. You HAVE to reach 15 000 steps today, if you don´t reach that you´ll gain weight. And you don´t want that don´t you? The day pass in a blur. You listen but you can´t really process what you see and hear. There are too many thoughts in your mind that constantly take up most of your time. Pushing the other things in life aside. You can also not stop feeling self concious, how people stare at you like hyenas that are looking at their next prey while laughing. The thought of constantly being watched makes you sick, wishing once again that you would dissapear. Atleast nobody is talking with you so that´s slightly easier. Just please let the rest of the day continue like this.
You get home, feeling reliefed that you are back into your safe bubble, alone with your thoughts. Which feels like a good and a bad thing. The thoughts from the depression and anxiety keep repeating themselves, so does the counting and pacing around to burn enough calories. Dinner time arrives and you spend a long time just to decide what feels safe, but the 1 kilo gain is still on your mind. Does anything feel safe at all? You finally decide on a bowl of vegetable soup without fat or on a plate of cauliflower with some lentils. Eating feels dificult and even though the amount of food you have could have been the equivalent of the meal by a toddler, it still takes you 30 minutes to finish it. Anxiety and self hatred is raging inside your head and you try to do everything to distract yourself, music, reading, knitting and other creative project, if you´re lucky... something might work, Sometimes you go to selfdestructive meassures just to escape the anxiety. numbing the emotions with binging, ridding yourself from guilty by purging, cutting your skin just to feel... anything other than the emotions that are tearing you apart, binge drinking your problems away.
You sometimes think that "maybe i should get help..... this isn´t the way to live my life." But then you remember the judgement you would be faced, the guilt and shame that you would feel, and the realization that most people wouldn´t think that your problems aren´t "real" since most of them aren´t showing in physical manifistations. And you give up on the thought on a better life. You go to sleep wishing that you won´t wake up and the last thing during the day that you hear, are the still ongoing thoughts, sending you into a sleep with nightmares....
But there is hope... thanks to much more awareness in this day and age than what there was earlier in history, many people have founs treatment that has worked for them, KBT, psycotherapy and other treatment forms have helped making the lives of billions of people more bearable. People with mental illnesses and other dissabilities are strong and have learned how to live through the storms most of the time. Sometimes the storms win and you give up the life of the living just to get some peace.
After reading this, do you still have your old thoughts on mental illnesses?