Mental Illness Awareness Week 2018
If you are following me on Facebook, you know I have been posting about Mental Illness Awareness all week. As you may know, this is something very important to me because it is not something only I struggle with, but so many others do as well. Raising awareness is something that I am going to be doing a lot of moving forward, and this week was a great way to start!
Each day I shared what mental illness feels like to me, so I wanted to put them all in one spot for the people who are very active on Facebook. These illustrations are real. My feelings are real. Your feelings are real. Mental illness is real. Help me raise awareness by sharing a picture on this post to Pinterest, or sharing this post on your social media platforms!
What Mental Illness Feels Like…
Mental illness feels like a heavy weight person sitting on your chest. You find it hard to breathe normally. Your airways feel constricted. Your heart feels like it’s going to explode. You’re unsure if you’re having an asthma attack so doctors prescribe inhalers, you thought it could be a heart attack, but your heart is healthy…oh but you find out it’s an anxiety attack! Then you realize what NOT taking care of yourself mentally feels like.
Mental illness feels like you are losing control of you. You can’t stop thinking no matter how hard you try. You can’t stop visualizing the worst case scenario playing all the way out in your head. Everything in you want to stop it, you want to be normal! You want to turn your brain off, but you haven’t figured out how yet.
Mental illness feels like not wanting to be alone, but not having the energy to be around people. You want to socialize so bad, but you can’t help feeling like something bad is going to come of it if you do. You don’t want to be anti, but you don’t feel like dealing with all that comes with your brain when being around other people. A few things I think about when I’m around people:
1. Who all is going to be there? Did other people invite other people?
2. What if I am uncomfortable? Will people be able to tell? Am I wearing something to hide my anxiety sweat?
3. How am I going to get out of that situation?
4. Do I sound stupid when I talk?
5. Do I be myself, or do I wait to see how they act first?
6. What do they think about me? Is it pointless to even try?
7. Am I even wanted around?
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture…all this to say…if I can’t be myself and my mind be free around you, do not expect me to come around. IT TAKES TOO MUCH OF MY ENERGY.
Mental illness feels like a never-ending circle in your mind. One thought leads to the next, and then the next and then the next and so forth. You can’t get it to stop. You can’t turn your mind off. Your thoughts keep you from sleeping at night. It keeps you from getting out of bed in the morning. You’re thinking so much that it makes you late for work. It makes going places difficult. It makes you mentally unavailable for people closest to you because you’re so consumed with your own thoughts. And when your thoughts are interrupted, or you’re not allowed to think in peace, you get irritable.
Mental illness feels like you’re trying to scream for help, but nobody hears you. It’s like you can see yourself spinning out of control and you so desperately want somebody to help stop it, but they don’t even notice anything is wrong. It’s like you don’t want to bluntly say “I need help” so you say things that may suggest it instead, but nobody notices that either. This makes you feel helpless. It makes you feel alone.
Mental illness feels like you’re at war with yourself. You’re constantly trying to tell yourself things are not that big of a deal, you’re being extra, you’re going over board, you’re thinking too much, you’re being difficult, etc. You try to call your own bluff and speak positive over yourself, but you are constantly struggling to keep pushing and to keep hoping for better days.
Mental illness feels like daggers when people look at you. It makes you feel uncomfortable because you’re trying to put on your “happy” face, but you can’t help but wonder do they know what you’re thinking. Can they tell you’re faking? Can people see right through you? You’d prefer people to never look at you.
If you a struggling with a mental illness, I know it is not easy and I want you to know you are not alone. By no way am I saying that you must maintain on your own. Above all, I encourage you to talk to someone you trust or seek professional help. Speaking out can help relieve you and elevate you out of the hole that may have you bound.
If you do not deal with a mental illness personally, I hope this post expands your understanding of what it feels like to struggle with a mental illness. Be kind. Just because people are smiling, it does not mean they’re not in pain.
Also, today is National Depression Screening Day! Take your free screening today online:
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