I know that life can be really difficult, especially if you’re struggling with mental illness. Regardless of which mental illness you have, there are some things I really want you to know, from me to you. You might have heard them before (I hope you have), but just in case you haven’t and this can help someone, I want to say them.
1. You are so strong and amazing
If you live in spite of mental illness, then you are amazingly strong. You are surviving in spite of something that is trying to tear you down, and that is impressive and admirable. You deserve to celebrate that. You deserve to know that somebody else understands just how strong you are to keep going in spite of everything you battle each day.
2. You are not alone
Even though it can feel like it sometimes, please know that you are NOT alone. There are others out there who understand. You can find them online, through social media or through local support groups. Even if you don’t want to find others who share your experience right now, please know that there is someone in this world who acknowledges your fight with your mind, and who wants you to know that you aren’t on your own.
3. It’s completely ok to ask for help
Asking for help is something to praise yourself for. It can be extremely hard to reach out to someone and say those three words: “I need help”. Unfortunately, you might not always get the help you need straight away. Please don’t give up if this is the case. Keep pushing. Even though we shouldn’t have to, sometimes we need to persist in order to get the help that is right for us. It is worth it when you find someone who will listen and who will give you the treatment that you need.
4. Stigma does not take away from your experience
Stigma means that sometimes people are not going to understand (or try to understand) what you are going through. People can be mean. Society is not set up right now for people who have extra challenges, whether it’s mental illness or physical disability. Other people may be judgemental. You might face stigma even within the medical community. Please know, that this stigma DOES NOT take away from your experience. This stigma does not mean that your struggles are any less valid. You know what you are going through, others like you understand what you are going through, and hopefully, society will catch up one day.
5. You are loved
I hope that you feel loved by plenty of people in your life, or from at least one person who is there for you. If not though, I want you to know that even though I might be a stranger, you have my love. Everyone is deserving of love and compassion. You are loved, and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart.
6. You are valid
You don’t need to compare your experience to others. There will always be people who ‘have it worse’ or ‘have it better’. That doesn’t matter. Someone else’s experience doesn’t take away from your own. Your experience is valid. Your symptoms are valid. Your feelings are valid. You are valid.
7. Whatever you have done today is enough
Some days it feels tough to even get out of bed. If you’ve gotten out of bed today, praise yourself. If you have taken a drink of water to hydrate yourself, be proud of that. If you’ve eaten something to nourish your body, stand tall and celebrate your achievement. Whatever you have done today, however small it may feel, it is enough, because you have done that in spite of an illness that is trying to stop you.
8. You can get through this
Even though it might not feel like it right now, you can get through this. Have faith in yourself and your own abilities. Believe that you can fight this and survive. Please do not give up on life, or on yourself. I believe that you can get through this.