I am not a well person.
While I’ve had endometriosis since I was sixteen, and I’ve had asthma since forever, my long-term more “serious” chronic health issues are far more recent. They were created by a bout of unfortunate illnesses: glandular fever, meningitis, and then, finally, encephalitis.
Due to chronic fatigue, I am often always tired, no matter how much sleep I get. I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere and at any time.
I wish you understood that.
I wish you understood me when I say that I’m exhausted. I wish you understood how difficult it is, at times, to do the most basic tasks.
I wish you understood that no matter how much I want to work full-time, doing so takes an incredible toll on me.
I wish you understood that it takes so much extra effort for me to do the activities you deem “normal.”
I wish you understood that, as a result of friends abandoning me because my illness was “too much drama,” I now suffer from a severe anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
I wish you understood that my mental illness is real—that I see a therapist and I take medication.
I wish you understood that this is real: I am not depressed or anxious in an attempt to gain attention or sympathy.
I wish you understood how difficult it is for me to trust now, after being betrayed the way I was by the people who I thought loved and cared for me.
I wish you understood how difficult it can be for me to go out with people I truly trust—let alone when I meet new people.
I wish you understood how deeply those people affected me, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot just “get over it”—not when I don’t understand what happened, or why, or who is “with” me, or who will betray me again. After all, it wasn’t just them. It was also all those who never listened.
I wish you understood that sometimes I have self-harmed in the past, not for attention but because no one listened and I wanted some control over the never-ending pain I was feeling.
I wish you understood that when I tried to kill myself, I felt like I was drowning. It wasn’t for attention. How could it be, when, until recently, only my husband knew what I’d done? It wasn’t for attention. It was, because, in that moment, I truly believed no one cared. No one was listening.
I felt alone.
I wish you understood that suicide, or attempted suicide, isn’t about you—even if it feels that way. It’s about the person who feels depressed.
I wish you understood how hard it is for people with mental illnesses to speak out, and the extreme courage that bravery takes.
But mostly, I wish you understood that depression and anxiety aren’t something a person can just “snap out of.”
[Photo credit to Ethan Hickerson]
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