It’s 730 AM on a Thursday and after weeks of making excuses and feeling sorry for myself, I’m on the floor of my bedroom in a heap of tears. breathe. breathe. breathe. you can do this. just go. just go and you will feel better. The night before I coordinated with my cousin-in-law to work out together. Yet here I am
and I can’t do it. It’s too hard. These weeks have been too long. I am exhausted.
It’s 8:35, I was supposed to leave five minutes ago and I am still making every excuse in the book. I am just so fucking tired. I walk out the door and lock up behind me. In the car, I blast motivational music like “Rise,” by Katy Perry and “Head Above Water,” by Avril. Chicks who maybe aren’t the best vocalists, but who still have Something To Say. This is my motivation as I nervously drive to the park.
I arrive and suck in my pride and push down my fear. My trainer greets me with a smile, but I catch the look of apprehension in her eyes. She’s concerned. I’ve missed a few weeks. Undeterred, she tells me to join my cousin for a lap around the park to warm up…
An hour later, I am all smiles. I did it, y’all! I fucking DID THE THING.
Here’s the deal:
Mental illness is hard. Recovery in any form is fucking WORK. So, when we slip into the depths of the scratchy walls inside our minds and feel as if we are sucked down in the abyss that can bring out our demons– it’s up to us to pull ourselves out of it. Sometimes that means talking to someone, or adjusting your medication, or crying…. you get it. But that shit takes work. Hard, hard, hard work.
I know a few people who haven’t had that struggle. These people said that they don’t even think mental illness is a real thing. I feel sorry for these people, but at the same time, I’m happy for them, too. They haven’t known the pain that comes with mental illness. I’m sorry for them because there is a certain amount of compassion that comes with the struggle of being mentally ill. To have the understanding behind why someone didn’t bathe, or brush their hair, or take out the trash.
I guess the simplest way to put it is when you’re depressed, you are in a dark room and you know there’s a candle in the room and a lighter. You can click the lighter on, sometimes, but when you do you lose any source of energy you have to bring the lighter to the candle and create the light you need to leave the room. The tools are there, and you are aware of this, you know how to use the tools, but you just… can’t. It’s like a force field is pushing you away, except the force field is your brain telling you that you Can’t. You may even argue with yourself and say that you can, but unless you truly know the feeling of being trapped in your own mind, there’s no easy way to explain the war zone that is inside someone’s head.
I don’t know if that helps, but that’s what I’ve got. Back to that hard work recovery:
Start small. Did you take a bath today? Did you drink enough water? Did you eat a nutritious meal? Did you brush your hair? What about your teeth? Do the things you need to do first. Bath bombs and books come later, but without the basic essentials being crossed off your list, you’ll only distract yourself from the problems at hand. Change your underwear. Do the fucking laundry. Just wash it and then leave it in a heap for another day when you’re feeling up to folding it. Count your progress. You got out of bed. You drank a glass of water. You brushed your teeth! Kudos! Love yourself slowly. Treat yourself like you are getting to know yourself again (because you are), and be patient. Not everything will come together at once.
Things fall apart all the time. This week has been fucking awful for me. Yesterday, despite my stellar success at my workout, I received some terrible news about people who are very close to me. Last night before bed, I was crying again. It’s all okay. Life comes at us in waves, and the only thing we can do is ride them out.
Today, I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. I know there is hope with each day that I rise. Carry that light with you, to the best of your ability and know that you, too can do this.
All my love,
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.