Living with a mental illness

Mental illness is a funny thing. One minute it’s your sole identity and the next, it’s a chip in your shoulder that you can’t carve out no matter how hard you try. It’s a confusing balance, a love/hate relationship built on delusions and moods that are not your own, and frankly it’s tiring.

I guess the first day I knew that something was wrong was when I was 17. Looking back now it’s funny that I never pieced it all together. My mood had been incredibly low sporadically since I was 10 years old. And I had had interactions within my head that were more than mere thoughts. But at 17, staring at my wall, tears falling, and thoughts flying at the speed of light, I knew then for sure that I was not having a normal experience.

If you read books, this is where the story usually takes a drastic turn, for the worse, or the better. But my story seems to have kept up its sporadic nature. Since then, I’ve gone through the worse and the best of it. I’ve stood at the edges of literal cliffs, I’ve ‘lost my brain’, and struggled immensely to maintain normal appearances. But I’ve also become resilient, more empathetic and succeeded when it seemed almost impossible.

What is life truly like? I wake up with space in my head, or buzzing. Sometimes there’s a voice or two. Most days I live through the day quite normally, balanced by my medication. Weekly, there’s bound to me an emotional experience that takes me to tears, making me feel like I need to find the edge...but I survive. At night, I linger for a long while before I fall asleep, and sometimes there’s a nightmare or two. But the truth is, I’m just like anyone else. I’ve got a disease that affects my brain, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t achieve my dreams.


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