I always felt different. At least today I know why. It’s just I sometimes still fear people think I’m crazy because of my insane insecurities. I mean, on one hand, I am but on the other, I’m just like everybody else.
And yet, it doesn’t make me feel any less alone. I smile through the hurt because no one seems to notice. No one seems to care, or at least that’s how it feels.
I’m not depressed because I can sleep for twelve hours at a time. I sleep for twelve hours because I’m depressed. I’m always anxious because I’m constantly fighting with my brain. I think it’s my obsessive-compulsive disorder that’s the worst of them all.
In short, it’s exhausting.
The truth is, I want to want to hang out. Except, sometimes I can’t make myself leave the house. And just because I went on vacation last week and posted a pretty selfie on IG does not mean that I feel good today.
Please don’t ask if I took my meds. Yes, I have. And maybe it works some of the time but not every day. Sometimes I have to isolate because I’m irritable. I don’t want to take it out on you or anyone else, so I hide. Don’t take it personally. Trust me, it’s emotionally safer for all of us.
If you only knew.
I’m just as irritated with myself as you are. I try my hardest to hide it, in most cases through fear of rejection. Then when I’m actually brave enough to tell someone, I’m somehow faced with blank faces and unhelpful remarks.
I am diagnosed with a few mental health challenges so I might have more struggles than most. But that doesn’t mean I should be mocked or laughed at. And unfortunately for me, it doesn’t just go away simply because something good happens.
There are a few things I wish people knew about my diagnosis. Because every day is a battle —but that’s not the worst part.
I’ll Tell You The Worst Part
Judgment. To others, my personality traits are annoying. I get it. I didn’t wish this on myself just as I wouldn’t wish this on someone else. The thing is, mental illness runs in my family. So, I was almost predestined to be the crazy person I am today.
I found out that scientists believe as many as 40 percent of those with mental health disorders have it because of genetics —environmental and other factors make up the other 60. Research also shows that people with parents or siblings who have these challenges are up to three times more likely to have the same condition.
So for a while, basically my entire life minus five years ago, I kept everything in. Even my friends had no idea what my insides were really like. I revealed what I wanted them to see.
I self-medicated in secret to numb the pain away.
And it worked but only for a little while. In the end, it made everything worse. I lost a lot of people along the way. Something good did come of it though because I found myself. Like I said, I never knew why I was the way I was. I honestly thought everyone else felt this way too. Isn’t it normal? I just didn’t understand how people could make white-knuckling look so good?
I didn’t realize that there was a deeper issue here. I don’t think others get that either. I think they judge me based on my profile picture and think I’m being a princess for saying no. The thing is, I have a disease. I’m not the girl I used to be but I think that’s a good thing.
Yeah, maybe I hibernate a little too much. But I’m allowed to want to feel safe. I’m allowed to set boundaries whether I say them out loud or not. Because far too many times, I’m in my bedroom, drinking tea trying to soothe the crazy inside.
But most people don’t get it. They can’t because to them it makes no sense. They only hear my justifications. People don’t see the damage I feel. Regardless, it doesn’t give them (or anyone) the right to laugh at my excuses.
I’m literally stuck between two worlds —my old self and the new me. It’s hard because the girl I used to be never really existed. I’m a recovering addict and type one diabetic whose life is run by blood sugar checks and daily affirmations. I try not to shame myself for being too weak to go for a jog, for being so anxious I can’t hang out with friends —for not being able to stop my intrusive thoughts on my own.
But you know what, you will never find me giving up. Even though I struggle, I’ll never stop fighting. It may seem like I’m a bad person because of my unanswered messages, but that’s just another boundary I’ve nonverbally set.
Because, Today, I Fight Back
You may think I’m being weak but what do you know anyway? You never knew me and you certainly don’t know the person I’ve become. I want you to know but you never ask. If you did, I’d tell you that there is literally a tangible chemical imbalance in my brain that stops me from being able to be your version of normal.
I’d tell you to offer the same compassion you’d show to someone with lupus, cancer, or any other socially acceptable illness. Because more times than not, discrimination and judgment are solely reserved for disorders that fall under the mental health umbrella.
I wish you knew that just because I’m capable of fake laughing for two hours in the park only to go home and cry myself to sleep, is actually pretty normal for me. I swing on the swings with a smile on my face and try to laugh away my silent fear.
On the outside, I look happy. On the inside, I’m anything but okay. And to the public eye after an episode, I look stubborn, selfish and absurd. But that’s the thing about mental illness, it’s deceiving AF. I mean sometimes, I even think I’m cured while other days, I literally want to die.
A lot of the time, my illnesses make me feel like I am a horrible person. My behavior is sometimes fueled by my disordered thought patterns. Sometimes I do things that to the external world are rude, annoying or just mean, but to me, at that time, that particular behavior is completely valid. Maybe I was triggered or maybe it’s just one of those days.
I am not trying to make excuses but I’m definitely not sorry. I’m just trying to let you know that these things I do aren’t all me. They are a byproduct of my illness. So please, when these times occur, try to see past my behavior and see me for me. I am here.
I want you to know that I don’t blame you.
I think I blame society as a whole for trying to keep us in boxes. I may be a bag lady but you can’t label me. And slowly, I’m learning to accept myself despite these irregularities. It’s funny though because I can talk a big game.
I have the tools to succeed but when someone judges me for bailing, it’s like everything goes out the window. But that’s just another challenge, I intend to overcome. Because today, I’m more me than I’ve ever been. And I want you to say the same.
As Life Coach, Danielle Laporte once said, “You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.” So apologize for unintentionally hurting someone. Say you’re sorry when you need to. But never apologize for being exactly who you are.