I had a busy weekend and didn’t have time to write a blog post. Here is a old but good one. Enjoy.
Have you noticed that you have experienced some of the symptoms of mental illness in your life, but you don’t have mental illness? Do you wonder how the same things you have struggled with affect someone with mental illness differently? When my friend asked me how it was different for me, I told her to multiply her experience by three.
Everyone has suffered with a period of sadness, struggled at a time with self-esteem, worried too much and made things out to be worse than they are. Many symptoms of mental illness are things people face during the course of their lives, but there is a difference when you experience them on a regular basis.
For me the symptoms of depression and borderline were intense, painful and at times debilitating. The darkness of my hole spread throughout my soul and my body. The darkness nearly drained the breath from my lungs. My emotions hurt worse than a root canal and I felt as if I had no control over my feelings and actions. At times I forgot what happiness was and I wondered if I had ever felt it.
Getting out of bed became a struggle, sleeping was hopeless, making decisions seemed impossible and even eating became a challenge. I cried over the smallest things. I tried watching funny movies to only fall deeper into the hole. I couldn’t enjoy the company of friends and family. My writing, my biggest passion, couldn’t even shine a light within soul.
Imagine feeling your sad moments so intensely that no matter what you do, you can’t pull yourself out of it. Imagine worrying so much that it engulfs your every thought and churns your stomach until you’re sick. Sick to the stomach and sick within the body with aching muscles, tight chest and gasps for air. Imagine seeing a problem so big it makes you want to curl up in a ball and pray you could just slip away. This is what mental illness was like for me.
Even now while I am in recovery, I struggle with some of the intensity of the symptoms of mental illness. The difference is I am stronger and I know how to ask for help when I’m not strong enough. My worrying becomes overpowering at times and even my sleeping medication doesn’t work when I’m worrying. That’s when I turn to my husband and he reassures me and helps me find comfort.
When you face a bad day and are able to pull yourself up with a smile and a funny movie, think of the many who cannot recover so easily. Step into the mind of someone who is struggling with mental illness and be glad for the light that shines in your life. Lend a shoulder to someone who is struggling, and even though it is overwhelming, let him or her know you care. People who have mental illness feel the same things you do, but much more intensely.
Even though sometimes my feelings become overwhelming, I now have control and friends and family who help me stay within the light.