Crawling through mental illness

It’s been a long, seemingly never-ending week, with my brain torturing me endlessly, no matter how hard I and others tried to help ease the dark, crappy, soul-destroying company of my not-so-welcome mental illness. Yet, here I am, Sunday afternoon, basking in the glory of an unbelievably productive day.

It’s funny to think that just earlier this week I was convinced that I couldn’t face the world, terrified of my own emotions and hiding from everything. And now, still feeling tender, I am slowly crawling through, making progress, and seeing things a little brighter once more.

I both hate and love my mind. I’m intelligent, I know that, I’m not smug about it, in fact I’m quite humble (humble isn’t the right word, more like… I am often ashamed and unable to see how good I am at doing certain things, and I have no idea how to recognise how hard I work, and the wonderful things I’ve achieved). But sometimes (and yes I know this sounds silly) I hate my mind for its ability to think everything through and over-analyse every situation. Brains are wonderful things, and I often find myself thinking that those who struggle with mental illness have brains that are superb. I think mental illness can show us what our minds are truly capable of, heck mental illnesses aren’t in my opinion, a sign of weakness, they are a sign of remarkable strength and ability. (Though of course, my mental illness works VERY hard to convince me otherwise).

With a week that has been truly exhausting, and reminiscent of all the horrible, rubbish things that have happened in my life, my brain has been haunting me endlessly. I didn’t see a way forward, but I knew, and was often reminded, that I had to keep trying. I don’t want the darkness to win, but sometimes its a reminder of how hard people have to work to go about their daily lives. Often I woke not wanting to face the world, with brushing my teeth and having a shower some of the tasks that felt as though I was taking on an Olympic sport, or Tri-Wizard tournament size task. (Harry Potter reference). Yet, still I managed to plough my way through all these feelings of anxiety and apparently, deep terror at doing perfectly ‘normal’ everyday things. I went into work, I had many cups of coffee and tea with my friends and colleagues and I managed to slowly start kicking the darkness away.

A few times I’ve been so overwhelmed by the enormity of the past week that I’ve not been able to focus my attention on doing anything. Not just work, but anything. Cooking food, or sitting with friends, was at times a little challenging. However, my friends are wonderful, they persevered, excavating their way through my turmoil and supported me incredibly. Talking and coffee, not necessarily talking about me, was such a strong support. My housemates sat with me, and made me food, and my colleagues entertained me throughout the week. I have some wonderful people in my life, those who know not to ask whats going on, and just to support me. My family too, have been understanding, that despite their current busyness (they’re moving and I have a lot to do) they allowed me to sit back and recover this weekend. And sitting back and allowing myself to recover has led to some pretty awesome productivity for me.

I think it just goes to show that giving yourself time to make sense of whats going on in your mind, and identifying when its the lies and ugliness of depression convincing you you’re worthless rather than reality, truths or facts about yourself and your life, can be really beneficial. Someone reminded me this week that negative thoughts are simply just thoughts, not facts or truths, and that was quite an important reminder for me. I’d go so flooded by negative feelings and thoughts, that I was really struggling to see the wood through the trees, but once again the wonderful people in my life have allowed me to work through things, and make sense of things, and for that I am once again, incredibly grateful.

Sometimes I really need others to help me out of the darkness, and that’s okay.

Drawings by Daehyun Kim aka Moonassi.




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