For Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our favorite bloggers to share their personal mental health stories to help #StopStigma. The more people speaking out about mental illness, the more people will know they aren’t alone in their struggles. Our aim is to encourage our Talkspace community and the broader mental health community to share their stories in a snowball effect, blasting stigma and breaking the silence.
This Is How I Struggle, By Kelly Bishop
You feel like you’re standing in your own way. So many things in your life should make you happy, yet you struggle to feel those elated emotions. It makes you hate yourself because you can’t let what is in front of you bring happiness. It’s not like you’re taking anything for granted, but it feels like you are, only because you’re as sad as ever when you shouldn’t be.
No matter how great something may be, you still feel that dark cloud within you. And when you do allow yourself to cry, you cry for everything and everyone who ever hurt you. You cry for all the pain you’ve ever experienced. You cry for your constant dissatisfaction; your constant self-loathing; your constant and unexplainable despair.
You can’t “snap out of it.” You can’t “forget about it.”
It’s not like you’re always walking around brooding and frowning and crying. It’s not like you never laugh or smile or enjoy yourself. You only wish that when those things happened, you 110% believed it, felt it. You want to be able to relish in your happiness without awaiting the downward spiral after. Negative feelings taint your happiness.
You’re always scared of what can threaten your mental health, your peace of mind. Big changes, new relationships — forget it. It throws off the whole equilibrium of your emotions.
It feels physically impossible not to focus on the few negatives amongst a million positives.
You’re always anticipating the disappointment, the heartbreak, the inevitable end to something great. You don’t trust anything to last. You don’t believe anything will truly make you happy. Your whole life has been spent seeking happiness, seeking those things that make you feel content and satisfied, yet they always seem to be out of your reach.
It’s not because happiness is unattainable. It’s because your warped mentality stands in the way. Even though you know that, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, which kills you.
It’s a small, dark burden tugging at your shirt sleeve. It won’t let you forget about it. Even when you’re laughing with happy tears in your eyes, you feel it there, lurking, reminding you it exist, reminding you it isn’t going anywhere.
You can’t get out of your own head. You overthink and overanalyze and drive yourself insane with the most negative thoughts you can muster; even though you know they aren’t true; even though you know you shouldn’t believe them. You can’t dismiss them or brush them aside. Anxiety and depression make you feel forever tormented by voices only you can hear. They make you feel helplessly alone.
But you aren’t alone. This is how I personally struggle, and I know people who feel the same way.
My way of dealing with it is writing about it, as often as I can, to get it out.
It’s not only for myself. The more open and aware I am about my struggle, the more aware other people can become about their own. It can give them the confidence to share their story as well, to let the truth spill out of them.
That’s why writing about mental health is important. We can encourage others to do the same. We can connect, relate and comfort each other with our words, knowledge and stories.