My life with mental health illnesses

Does anyone know me? People like to poke at me, analyze, and label me: overly sensitive, extremely shy, severely socially awkward, clinically depressed, Bipolar. But, does anyone know what it feels like to be me? I try not to notice how people look at me, the way they talk to me (like they can easily break me with their words), pretend that you don’t know that they’re afraid of you, pretend you don’t care what they say behind your back. I am constantly at a war with the world and myself. Most days I feel like I am on a hamster wheel, and my feet are tired from running, but my mind will not let me stop; I want to stop running. I want to stop hurting. And for everyone else, the answer is simple: “take your meds Aziza, numb the pain, sleep through the pain, TAKE YOUR MEDS” But the pain never leaves me. Meds do not set me free.

Mental illness lies. I spent many years in hiding because that was the lie that my illness told me. That, if I owned my truth, that I was different and struggle with mental illness that people would desert me and that everyone is better off not knowing me, ever. That lie, almost not only ruined but took my life. But I am here now. I am willing to be vulnerable and sharing my truth with you all hoping that it gets to someone who needs to hear it. Allow it to be your lifeline if need to be, you are worthy, and I may not know you personally but believe that I care, and this world needs you. To all of the incredible individuals in my life who support, accept, believe in me (especially when I don’t), and provide me with unconditional love; I am making it, day by day because of you; thank you.

This message is for everyone: those struggling with mental illness and those that are trying to support them. Firstly, those that are struggling with mental illnesses, what I want to say to you is: I see you, I befriend you, I want to hear your truth, not the lies that the illness may be trying to convince you. I appreciate you; this world needs the light that only you can add to this world. I know that it is not as simple as “take your meds.” Our illnesses are as complex as we are, so are their treatments. However, taking your meds, finding people you can trust to tell everything about your illness, exercising, sleeping, eating well, are all part of the process of getting you to the destination that you deserve: have the right to exist, take up space, loved, happy, healthy and accepted for all that you are (beautiful mess, complex, wonderful, passionate, deserving, courageous and work-in-progress).

Last but definitely not least, those that try to support and be an advocate to those that struggle with mental health illness (es), you are truly modern-day superheroes in my eyes. We know that it is not easy and appreciate you so much for it. I would like to also bring to your attention that you have the privilege to step away when you need to, even though we want you to make use of that, to take care of yourself and fill your cup back up. I would like for you to be mindful of the fact that we (individuals struggling with mental health illnesses) do not have that luxury. We cannot leave it and come back to it, we are stuck with it and have a deal with it whether we can or not. I would like to provide some things that you can do to help when someone you love, know and respect is struggling: Be there, listen attentively, and believe the person. A lot of people worry about not being professionals but most of the time, we just want to feel heard and know that someone cares.

Aziza


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