A diagnosis can be many different things, because there are so many different mental illnesses. While no two illnesses are identical, several illness share symptoms with each other – which makes a doctor’s job much more difficult.
Since there are many different illnesses out there, I obviously cannot tell you what it is like to have all of them. So this post will focus on what it is like for me to have a mental illness.
Living with a Mental Illness:
For me, socializing is absolutely exhausting. I need time alone regularly (usually daily) or I have a breakdown because I can’t cope with the stress of trying to be normal anymore. I can’t go out in public without seeing and hearing people pointing and laughing at me. Voices call my name and talk to me, and I often respond without realizing they aren’t actual people. I fixate on certain people, and try to communicate with them without telling them what I want to say – for instance, playing or singing a certain song around them so they can realize without me telling them that I am sad.
It’s long nights where I sit up in bed for hours to protect my husband and myself from the people I see in the room. Cuddling with my teddy bear because I’m scared to death and don’t want to bother my husband for the fifth time that night. Sleeping all night with the light on, because when we turn it off the people come back and I have to be on guard. Being ill for me, means seeing messages in the time on the clock. Seeing portals appear on the back of the mirror when we turn it around so it can’t communicate with the clock. It’s struggling not to hurt myself because I want to make it stop, struggling not to hurt the people I love when the need to hurt someone or something is overwhelming.
Having a mental illness means staying in a public area longer than necessary to make sure the strangers walking to their cars are safe from the man on the sidewalk with a knife. It means being a freak to people who don’t understand. Losing friends because I’m not always in control. Becoming a different person when the psychosis is really bad, and no longer recognizing my own name. Existing in my own world (The Border) and not knowing what is happening in reality. Losing the will to live, and not taking care of myself. Being incoherent and unable to explain what is going on. Sometimes being so happy that I feel like I’m floating and talking so quickly that no one can understand.
There is so much to having a mental illness. No, this is not all of the symptoms I experience, but my aim was not to detail every problem; rather, my aim was to shed a little light on the darkness. There is still so much darkness – but now, maybe a little less.