So May is/was Mental Health Awareness Month (in the USA for sure, other countries I’m not so sure but let’s go with it) and I’ve never been very good at timing things so of course I’m posting this on the last day of May. Whatever. Let’s continue.
I’m starting this post on a Friday night (and posting on a Tuesday) because I’m thinking so much that it’s keeping me awake. I’ve never really talked about this on here because I was too scared that someone might actually read it and then judge me or mock me or heaven forbid bring it up in person.
I’m struggling. I’ve been struggling for years. I know that I have Legitimate Issues but I’m too scared to see a doctor and have them confirmed because that would make it all Real. But also, not having a set diagnosis makes me feel like a fake. I take online tests all the time for various mental illnesses and each time I get a positive result I am equal parts relieved that I am being validated and unable to fully trust anything because it’s “just an online quiz”. The fact that the diagnosis process for mental illnesses relies solely on your answers to pointed questions instead of something more concrete like a blood text or an x-ray is what gets me. I convince myself that I don’t actually feel certain ways, I just think I do (which makes no sense) or I’ll see a multiple choice answer and know which one will make the illness I’m trying to diagnose come up as a result – I can calculate my feelings. How do I know how I feel? I once sat in a doctor’s office and took a bunch of surveys to find out if I could be suffering from depression and one of the questions was “do you feel depressed?” as if I could answer that. What is depression? I thought I felt depressed but what exactly would that feel like? If I have to ask that, then is it obvious that I do or that I don’t? I know there’s something wrong with me but I need a second opinion. And maybe a third. I need someone with a clear mind to assess my thoughts and tell me if they are depressed thoughts. You know what I mean? It’s all so confusing. This is the reason why a lot of people go undiagnosed, untreated and unknowing. It’s hard to convince yourself that not everybody thinks the same way that you do and that your thoughts might not be the norm and most people don’t always lowkey wanna die.
Another hard thing for me to accept is that you can’t just run away from your mind. Life changes can better your mental state but dealing with your problems is crucial. I was recently in London, England – a place that I’d dreamed of visiting for as long as I can remember – and the one morning I woke up and could not find the motivation to get out of bed. I felt guilty that I was in this wonderful place and I was so privileged to be able to travel yet here I was, unable to enjoy it because I couldn’t get out of bed. Even once I forced myself out of bed, I tried to take it easy and just do small things, I could not seem to have a good day. And it sucked. I was walking down Oxford Street in a daze, not really there. I walked in and out of shops and bought nothing. I honestly don’t even remember much of that day because it didn’t feel like I was living.
All of this considered, I still can’t seem to validate myself and accept that it wasn’t really my fault. I still have days where I tell myself that I’m just being dramatic. I didn’t even want to write this because I don’t have an “official diagnosis” as “proof” to show anyone that asks. I don’t even really know what an “official diagnosis” looks like, do you get a fancy document signed by your doctor that you can frame? What makes my feelings completely 100% valid? My head is chanting “it’s not real, you’re making it all up” over and over again every time I finish a sentence.
Mental illness constantly feels like a failure. Even if you’re a “highly functioning” member of society your head is always telling you that you could/should/would be better if you weren’t so damn anxious, but you’re anxious because you feel like you could/should/would be better than you are. I don’t know. There’s no real point to any of this but to just share my thoughts re: mental illness and what a mess it all is. I don’t have any tips or any light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel story to give you right now because I’m still trying to figure it all out.