Suffering from mental health makes it hard to open up to people. Like anything, we fear what we don’t understand. And if there’s anything we underestimate and oversimplify it’s mental health. But if we want people to understand we have to keep talking about it. Not matter how hard the discussion may be.
Take into consideration that just because you cannot always see how debilitating depression and anxiety is, doesn’t meant it’s not there.
I have different ways of communicating that I’m struggling with anxiety because it effects me in more ways than one. Some days I’m silent and look irritable, it’s me overthinking. Some days I look sad, but my heart is just pounding out of my chest. Some days I have verbal diarrhea, because of the discomfort found in silence, just to name a few.
So my ask here is simple: Please don’t jump to conclusions when someone is at work one day, quite seemingly happy and healthy yet calls in the following day. I say this because the judgment you carry for that person will never amount to the judgment they feel for themselves. That it takes everything in them to make that phone call saying they won’t be in. The fear of what may come from it, the concern for a lack of understanding, the overthinking surrounding what others will think. This is merely a fraction of the thoughts going through my head when I make the call or send that email.
Know that for every mental health day is the stress and concern of the day that follows you at work. It’s exhausting. So often saying you’re anxiety ridden or struggling with depression is not an excuse for a personal day. Push through it, people think. You’re weak. You’re lazy. You’re making excuses. But you’re not. You’re actually 100 times stronger than your counter part because you have to be. Always. A mental health day is anything but relaxing. If anything it’s more exhausting than being at work because you’re in a constant state of fear of what’s to come.
I hope you walk away from this knowing that I love work. I love going in every day. I don’t wake up thinking I don’t want to work. I wake up feeling as if I’m drowning. Gasping for air. Craving happiness but circling the drain. I wake up feeling like I have chains weighing 1000lbs on my chest preventing me to get up.
My colleagues are not just my colleagues, they’re my friends. They make me happy. They get me out of my head. I’d rather spend my time surrounded by people than lost in my own thoughts.
Now that we’ve discussed that, I want to share with you the different ways in which I communicate I’m struggling with my anxiety or depression.
With every “sorry I’m late” there was three hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed let alone my door.
When with every “my stomach hurts” there are thoughts travelling through my head at rapid speed.
With every “I have a headache” there’s exhaustion and stress you don’t see.
With every “I don’t feel well” there’s fear of vomiting and even more fear of judgment.
With every “sick day” there’s fear of ignorance towards mental health
With every “I don’t feel like going out” there’s enough guilt harbored to last a life time.
With every “sorry I must have missed your text” there’s hours of guilt and frustration
With every “I’m going to have to cancel” there’s a pit of emptiness inside I’m unable to shake to get myself out the door.
With every “I’m tired” there’s hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed.
With every bit of laughter, there’s an emptiness inside I cannot shake.
With every helping hand is hope that nobody feels the way I do.
With every intimate conversation is the obsession to help.
With ignored message is an exhaustion I cannot push through.
With every “I’m not hungry” is nauseousness caused by overthinking.
So no, I’m not a complainer. I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m a human being that suffers from anxiety and severe depression. A warrior. A person that keeps fighting.
I will fight everyday for happiness. To rid the feeling of an empty vessel and so should you. We won’t always win, that’s okay. I just want you to remember, we’re here for a reason. You’ve been through what you thought to be the worst days of your life and look at you, you’re still here.