When someone tells you they live with mental illness the first thing that comes to mind is that they are either bipolar depressive, have multiple personalities or you are reminded of wandering modern prophets announcing the end of the world. Well I hate to break it to you but it’s not as black and white as that. So many of us suffer with mental illness and very few people can recognise us. For the most we are able to cope with it, given the right support and help from others, but it’s not easy.
I suffer from a multitude of mental illnesses; the most difficult for me to deal with is OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder.
The problem with mental illness is that it is always there, you can’t take medication for it and hope it goes away because it won’t. You have to learn to cope with it and try stopping it from taking over your life. It’s not easy and when you develop one several others usually tag along. For instance, with my OCD if I don’t perform all of my checks to ensure I don’t lose anything or to keep me safe, I panic.
To panic over doubts that you may have forgotten something or missed something or even made a mistake along the way and fearing the repercussions as a result, is emotionally taxing. After a while you want to give up because it’s easier to.
Anxiety attacks are not fun, I can assure you, as they leave you feeling control less and vulnerable. As years have passed, dealing with this as best as I can, I have unfortunately developed depression; the companion to all mental illnesses.
There is hope. I personally take each day as it comes. I don’t worry too much about the bad days and celebrate the good ones. By doing this I have managed to control many of my illnesses. The most important thing to remember is to always be positive and to surround yourself with people that are too.
Family often get frustrated, especially when they don’t understand what you’re going through. It’s hard for anyone to understand unless they have experienced something like it themselves. When this is the case it only makes the victim feel even more isolated than they already do. You can try to explain or even plead for understanding but patience is a fragile string that snaps under pressure and a lonely mind is often a troubled one.
Living with mental illness is a constant struggle but when you take each day as it is and face the challenges it holds you are sure to survive and become stronger. When you meet someone with a mental illness try to be understanding and supportive. Always remember they don’t mean to be difficult and it’s harder for them than it may be for you.