Mental illness is extremely tough — both struggling through it yourself, to having a loved one who is struggling with it. I have been on both sides of the coin. Currently, I am dealing with anxiety and depression. I have dealt with it for the past six years, and every single day is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because I get to live my life with all the amazing people I know and love; a curse because my mental illness creeps in on me in every aspect of my life. With my anxiety and depression, there is one lingering, evil thought I have every single day: I am a burden to others.
One of my greatest strengths, as well as my greatest weakness, is that I live to please other people — so much in fact that I forget to take care of myself. Because of that, my anxiety and consequently depression are at all new highs. Something I have learned through all of this is that I need to talk about what I am going through. I believe keeping things inside is the worst possible thing anyone struggling with mental illness can do. You begin to isolate yourself from the world because you feel like nobody can possibly understand what you are going through. You stop reaching out to people because you believe you are going to bring them down with you. Well, guess what? You’re not going to.
Let me make something very clear: you are not a burden. I know that is easier to read than to believe; trust me, I do. I am struggling with this very concept right now. It is so hard for me to reach out to my loved ones because I don’t want to interfere with their happiness and well-being. If the people you decide to reach out to really care about you, they will stick with you. If they turn away, then that is their problem. You need to surround yourself with people who are going to bring you up and listen to you in your most desperate times of need. Something my loved ones have reiterated to me repeatedly is that I am not doing any of these things, and hopefully, your trusted people will tell you the same exact thing.
If you are experiencing any kind of mental illness, I want to encourage you to keep going and keep talking through it. That is so much easier said than done, I know, but you must take care of yourself. You are the most important person in your life. If you’re not good for yourself, how can you be good for anyone else? If you keep everything in and are afraid you’re going to be a burden to everyone else, you’re not going to get any better. So, go out and don’t be afraid to share your feelings. They are important, and you are so worth listening to.