*Do not try this at home. The title isn’t literal. Stay off the Internet if you take everything literally.
Thoughts from Therapy is a series where I talk honestly about my struggle with and recovery from depression and anxiety. My hope is to promote mental health awareness and to let anyone else struggling know they’re not alone. Read previous posts.
It’s a long time since I’ve written one of these Thoughts from Therapy posts. I’ve had lots of things to write about, like
- The stress of exams during June
- Finally feeling like I could breathe as vacation gave me a chance to relax in July
- How well I’ve been doing and how proud I am for the progress I’ve made in July
- The fear of relapse as a new semester is about to start in August
- Not letting physical illness letting affect my mental health, which has a history of being very connected. This became very relevant when I recently got mono, which means I might feel unwell for a very long time.
But that’s not something I wrote about, nor am I going to today. Some of these posts were just headlines in my head, others were roughly dotted down on my phone.
I try to be very honest about my struggles, to show what it’s like (for me) to live with a mental illness, but there’s more to the story than you read.
It’s not because I don’t want to share. The response I get is so full of love, and it just confirms how important it is to have the courage to talk about mental health.
I try to be very honest about my struggles, to show what it’s like to live with a mental illness, but there’s more to the story than you read.
But here comes the but: it’s hard.
It’s hard to dig into those dark and sad feelings. It’s hard to rip your heart open and let them fester.
Right now I can choose to watch a nice TV show and have a snack, watch the puppy video my boyfriend just sent me – or I could take an hour to go deep inside my head, really explore how I’m feeling. I know there’s still shadows in there that I’d like to pretend doesn’t exist. I know I’m going to cry at some point because these thoughts aren’t exactly pleasant.
However, ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. When I was very sick, writing was my main way of processing my feelings, making sense of my thoughts. It was just as painful then, but still somehow different – because simply being alive was in a way dark and painful.
Today I have an alternative – my “baseline mood” is much higher, and little moments of happiness are back in my life.
So most days I go with option 1. Not today. Because I really want to write about this – and I know that I need to continue to be aware of how I’m feeling and taking care of myself so I don’t fall back. Writing is my way of doing that.
I’d love to write even more about mental health awareness, but it takes a toll. That’s why it’s not something I write about every week – but not because I’m not passionate about it.
I want you to know something, know it deep in your heart:
You’re not alone.
You’re never alone.