This is a tough one for me to write as first of all it forces me to accept that there is a problem, but it is also important as it allows me to heal and try to move on from some of the darkest days in my life. I am not trying to say that I understand everything about mental illness and the struggles of others as everyone’s story is different. If anyone out there ever needs someone to talk to, ever needs to feel heard or ever needs someone to let them know they are not alone please get in contact with me. It means everything to me to be available to help others, no matter where in the world you are.
1. It’s OK to not be OK and it’s OK to talk about it
I have found this very hard as in my mind I often associate my sickness with personal weakness in a way I would never do to a friend suffering through similar things. Mental illness can drive you to believe that you are making the problem up to keep its firm hold over you, which can make it so hard to seek the help you desperately need to fight. A large part of that fight is learning to break the silence and be open about your struggles with the people you love and trust.
2. Admitting there is a problem is NOT failure
Each and every day you get up and you fight you are winning against your illness. You need to keep telling yourself that you are strong, you are important in the lives of others and you can win (even if you don’t believe these things at first).
3. Your mental illness lies
Promises of being loved, being better, stronger, fitter if you follow a certain path are not true as you are already loved for who you are and already so strong for fighting. Equally some of the things your mental illness might scream at you like “you’re fat and disgusting” or “nobody cares about you” or “you are worthless” are your illness’s often convincing way of trying to keep its hold over you.
4. You are not a burden and people’s lives are made better by having you in them
Sometimes it might feel as though you are only weighing other people down, especially with some of the insults mental illnesses like to hurl at people. Making footprints in the lives of others is inevitable. As much as we may want to slip away there are always ties keeping us in this world, even in little ways, and there are always people who would be torn apart in some way by losing you.
5. Better does exist, no matter how bad it gets
This isn’t a promise that I make lightly as I haven’t believed it until very recently, especially when I was approaching rock bottom. Even on the darkest of days the sun is still hidden behind a cloud. There is always hope and there is always a possibility in this life of something better. You are a part of something important. Hang in there, stay strong and know that the darkness isn’t everything.