What comes on your mind when somebody brings up the topic of ‘mental illness’? For the majority , its equivalent to being mentally retarded or simply being out of their mind. What people seem to ignore is that mental illness is not only that but much more than simple illness. ‘Mental illness’ can refer to a wide range of mental health conditions which affects a person’s mood, behavior and thinking. The most common mental disorders are anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
As a child, ‘ growing up’ seemed frightening and exhilarating at the same time but I was not the one to back down from a challenge. I was on the thin side up until grade six. That year , I went through the worst. Everything was going well until I started feeling extremely sad for no reason whatsoever. I felt like I was drowning in the pool of my own expectations, self-hatred and melancholy. My once vibrant and colorful perspective on life seemed to be deteriorating into something much more sinister and gray. Waking up in the morning seemed like a chore, smiling which came naturally to me suddenly felt forced.
I was slowly falling into the deep pits of my own darkness. I started preferring solitude over companion because talking and socializing didn’t seem so exciting anymore. All I wanted to do was lay in my bed in complete darkness and be consumed in my ‘not so pleasant thoughts’ fueled by hopelessness, self-hatred and lethargy. My whole life had turned into a different shade of gray as time passed by, yet no one noticed. For them I was the same jolly girl that made everyone smile but from the inside I felt like I was slowly dying and nothing made sense anymore. I even tried to harm myself but couldn’t do it. I was on the brink of a serious breakdown every second of the day but the tears didn’t come out. So, I took the stress and the negativity upon food. I started eating when I was hungry, when I was sad which was often and when I felt stressed. I gained excessive weight and ended up hating myself even more than before. Yet again , no one noticed the change in me.
As the years passed by, I slowly pulled myself out of the hole that I was trapped in for so long. I can now finally look back know what was going on with me and give a name to it. I had suffered from depression and binge eating disorder. I admit that I am not the same person who I was before. I had to grow up when I didn’t want to. Thankfully I don’t binge eat so much nowadays. But my depression has stayed with me as an unwanted companion as if to prove that I can never be ‘me’ again. The tightly sealed and bottled up rage spills once in a while where I get ticked off by anything that moves or breathes. Because of my depression I now have a nasty way of coping with my stress.
I still haven’t recovered from my depression but I would like to think that I can finally overcome my fears in the nearest future.
‘Mental illness’ doesn’t only refer to mania or insanity. It has deep and viscous roots that can even take a life time to plug it out from its roots. ‘Mental illness’ is real and it is as lethal as any physical disease. It can take the life of people like any other disease or simply drive them insane. It is not something to be romanticized or thought of as ‘fun’ or ‘great ’. It is terrifying and like a phantom itch which will spread throughout your body if you do not get help in time or succumb to its demands. You cannot simply ‘get over it’. It is a serious case and if you are going through hard time indentifying or coping with your mental illness then you need to go seek help and know that people do care. You are loved and you are valid.
Just because you haven’t seen it, haven’t heard about it, haven’t felt it nor have any knowledge about it doesn’t mean it does not exist. ‘Mental illness’ exist even if they seem too bizarre to be real. Always remember that a person’s mental health is as important as their physical health.