An Open Letter To Everyone Battling A Mental Illness

Hey you!

Yes, you, the one who is far more than the scars on their body or scars that are invisible but are there none the less.

You fight like hell against the invisible illness that strikes at your very core.

You struggle to get your family and friends to understand you, who perhaps may not even believe something is wrong.

Sometimes family and friends just don’t get it, they don’t understand what it is like to be inside your head.

They leave you feeling utterly invalidated by saying you are being “too emotional” or “too dramatic,” which then causes you to sink further into your dark hole.

You don’t feel brave for continuing your fight, let me tell you this, you are more than brave you are a warrior.

You are so much stronger than your illness.

Your diagnosis does not define who you are.

You are and always will be more than your thoughts and fears, the compulsion of your illness that drives you to feel you are living nothing but dark days.

It is some of your hardest days that lead you to fight as hard as you do.

You have days when you feel you can’t carry on, but look at you, still here, still fighting, still facing what feels like a vicious cycle of dark thoughts.

Your head screams at you so loudly to give in, to quit as you’re not good enough, yet the will to live, to will to fight on is far stronger than any screams you endure.

You fight through each minute of the day, sometimes counting down the seconds until the minute is up, then you take a deep breath and start the countdown again.

There are days when you believe there is no one to help you as you have fallen down so far that you can’t even find the strength to pull yourself up, to pick up the phone and ask for help.

You often find days where you don’t recognize yourself, you are this numb shell full of emptiness except for the demon lurking inside which you are trying to fight.

Your body aches it is like every cell in your body is screaming at you begging for some kind of relief.

Those are the days when you can’t get out of bed.

So, then you get called lazy, ridiculous, overdramatic which is of no help at all, it just makes you feel alone in your battle with your mind.

They fail to see that every day is a struggle for you, they invalidate you but know this your struggle is completely valid and your fight shows just how much of a warrior you are.

You live with a stigma attached to those with mental illness. Those who have no understanding treat you like a crazy person telling you its all in your head, well yes that is exactly where mental illness is found and the medication you take is life-saving yet people refuse to see that.

You have developed this art of hiding the true depths of your illness by being so convincing at saying “I’m fine,” and “Oh, I’m just tired,” and “let’s talk about you, what have you been up to?”

You avoid being sociable by telling people you are so busy at work you have no spare time, then lock yourself away at home frustrated at yourself for not feeling able to go to something you once enjoyed.

When you do find the strength to be in public you are stressed the whole time in case a panic attack comes and you embarrass yourself, and you find yourself escaping to the safety of home.

Even though you are fighting your own demons, when you see someone in a similar place to yourself, you reach out to them to let them know they are not alone, that stakes strength in case you didn’t know that.

You all are fighters.

You think you are losing this battle, you’re not!

You are not wallowing in self-pity; you are a fighter who is owning their illness even though you may feel you are not.

You wake up each day to a battlefield all whilst functioning on a lack of sleep, self-doubt, and those that should be supporting you making you feel pathetic and weak.

You are anything but weak.

There is no promise of an easier day, you live each and when it comes to an end you know you beat the day as you fought through it.

The one thing that you should know is that this battle will not last forever.

Each step you take is a winner and don’t you dare let anyone take that from you.

Each therapy session is one step closer to the battle’s end. Each time you take your medication just know you are doing what you know is right for you.

There are dark days still but before long you have good days more than dark, that’s all done to you and the hard work you are putting into yourself to overcome your illness.

One day you wake up to a sunny day and you embrace the warmth your soul feels and your mind allows you to smile.

You will see the beauty in life again, and it feels incredible.

You begin to trust yourself again and push the negative thoughts your mind may try and push on you again.

And some days just moving forward one step is all you need to do.

You can do it, warrior.

You got this.

Fight on.