It is difficult enough to know that every day of your life you have to live with an illness which people don’t understand. There isn’t exactly a support group for those with mental illness, and everyone has a different experience with it. What is most difficult when living this way is not just that you hurt personally and emotionally, but that you unintentionally hurt everyone around you. People are pushed out of your life because you snap at a child when you are trying not to have an anxiety attack. Worse still is when you lash out at you family from impulse aggression which is caused from feeling trapped inside your own skin. You want to hurt yourself because you hurt everyone around you. Then at some point, everyone seemingly gives up hope that you will ever get any better. At this point, you get even worse. Anxiety so bad you can’t get out of bed, or leave you house to do something as simple as getting a drink, or going to buy a pack of cigarettes. Putting air in the tires on your car becomes a terrifying event. The thought of seeing your family causes so much tension before you get there that everyone is on edge and they are all just waiting for you to snap again. Then if you manage to try to control yourself, and someone else yells at you or insults you you are stuck with the dilemma of responding or walking away, both reactions are taken as insulting to the person you are trying to not fight with.
Living this way is a constant battle. One which a person cannot hope to face alone. One which family and friends need to learn how to understand, so that they can help you take the steps forward in your life which you long to take. It is hard enough when you are terrified of everything to get out of bed in the morning. However, knowing that you have hurt almost every person in your life because of your disease makes it that much harder. There is no cure, but with support we can overcome and live normal lives.
So to those whom I have hurt, my best friend, mother, sisters, brother, grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-mother, father, and my son I am sorry. I try everyday to become a better version of myself, but I am still lost inside this disease. I don’t know which direction will take me out of it, and that is why I have felt the need to write about it. I hope as you and others read these essays and posts, that you might gain some understanding of what it is like to live in my skin, to walk my path, and how difficult it is to know what I have done and that nothing I say can repair what i myself have broken.
To the readers who don’t know me in person: I hope that you can gain insight into your own lives through my struggles. I hope that if you are reading this because you have a family member or a friend with a mental illness that you will gain insight into them.
The key is support. Crazy or sane we all need support. We all need our friends and family to be there to listen when we are in pain. It is more difficult to do this when someone is always in pain, I know, but please remember that even if you are not seeing the person you love when they have an anxiety attack, a manic episode, or a bout of depression, that person is still in there. They are trying to figure out how to come back, and they just need a strong hand to hold until they can make it through.