Mental illness is no less important than a visible illness. The only problem is that people who have not suffered with mental illness do not and will not ever understand what it’s like. Sure, they can guess and go off what they’re told, but you can never be prepared to go through any sort of mental illness. I’m going off of what I’ve experienced, which is generalised anxiety and depression.
What to Expect for Your Journey
If you are ever diagnosed or experience a mental illness, it can be terrifying. Your mind and physical ability to live a normal life can be shattered, and this can affect anyone around you that’s there to catch the backlash.
It’s extremely hard to explain what’s happening inside your head, and most of the time you might not even know yourself. You sit there and ask yourself questions that you can’t seem to answer: Why am I feeling like this? What did I do to deserve this? Why is my life like this? Why can’t I just get up and do things? Why can’t I just leave my house and catch a bus like a NORMAL person?
Although, what is a NORMAL person to you? Is it someone who works a 9-5 job and gets up every day being productive and living in a clean house just getting by in life? Or is it someone completely opposite managing to maintain their life and can travel and do all the things you wish you could do but you tell yourself you never could?
Whatever NORMAL is to you, you can get there! Even if it takes you longer than everyone else, it doesn’t matter how far behind you’ve fallen. You need to concentrate on yourself and what you need right now. Whether that be as small as taking a shower or getting dressed to go to the shop for milk, you need to decide.
I know many people have to get up for work and they don’t have a choice. I’m lucky in the fact my experience was during school so I wasn’t keeping a roof over my head or buying food myself and I’m extremely lucky to have the support from my family that I did. If you don’t have the support, it will be a lot harder for you to get through this, although you will, the path to recovery may be slightly more bumpy, any support you can get will help don’t be ashamed of something you can’t help! There are also support groups out there for mental health and you should never hesitate on asking for help.
You will have good and bad days, but everyone does. Just don’t let a bad day throw you off your path. Think of it as a big puddle in the middle—you just have walk around it and the paths clear again. The amount of puddles you experience will be different to everyone, but some will be easier to get around than others.
Ways to Express Yourself and Relieve Stress
You may be doing well and continuing up your path to “normal,” but still feel like there is a weight holding you back, and it would be helpful to find a way to reduce the weight.
As a creative and visual person, things I have found to help me are arts such as drawing, painting, makeup, and writing. I also enjoyed a bullet journal for a while, which is a good way to track your habits and what you do so you can decide what you want to change in your routine, which is also not an easy thing to keep if your mental state is holding you down. These are all helpful at helping you release your weight visually and have a sense of achievement.
If you are a more active person, things like going for a walk or start exercising may help. I say it “may” help because your helpful activities as such will depend on what you enjoy and what helps you.
Relaxing activities like deep breathing and tracing your body in your head are great ways to help you relax and fall asleep at night. Asking for professional advice to support and advise you on what to do is the best way to relieve this weight. They will also be able to advise a lot more than I have written here and will be able to be more personalised to you.
Mental illness can severely affect your relationships, and you might not even notice until it’s too late. It’s best to be honest with the people around you so that they can be there to help you through it, otherwise you’ll just hear things like “you're just being lazy,” “you’ve always got an excuse.” These words, as small as they seem when they’re said, can stick around, and you keep thinking back to when they were said and you’ll start to think, maybe I am just lazy and it is all an excuse, but why can’t I get over this feeling of laziness and emptiness. What’s the point?
The point is life is what you make it. Staying in all the time doing nothing won’t get you anywhere, but you know that anyway. Starting with easy steps, routine things people do automatically can be a good place to start as long as it’s realistic to you. There is no point in saying, "Right, Monday I’ll start getting up at eight, having a shower, going to work, walking the dog, and going to the gym. Because, realistically, can you do that being in the place you're in right now? Sure you can get there and do all those things at once, but right now it’s okay to not be able to. Start with one thing at a time. One day walk the dog, the next maybe have a shower. Work your way up to where you want to be...