Things I Wish You Knew About My Mental Illness
But I know that if you are an extroverted, social person, you don't always understand the need for self-preservation. I know that you sometimes think I'm lazy, that I just need to change my mindset. I know you think my coping skills are rusty, that I'm just not trying hard enough. How I wish you knew how hard I try some days just to be the person I want to present to the world. I wish you knew how I quell the constant electric buzz of anxiety in my body at work on bad days, how I walk and pace to keep myself from vomiting, how my phobias and my obsessive cycling thoughts can ruin even the best experience unless I have a strict hold on myself.
Mostly, I wish you knew that no matter the mental illness we live with, we struggle with our shadows and demons all the time. That certain things can be triggering and it's not our fault. That we don't want attention and special treatment, that the media and the world and the general mindset of "suck it up" have created this space in which our minds and bodies don't belong. So we try, daily, to belong. To laugh weakly at jokes about "crazy people". To soothe and battle fears about the homeless man on the street. To break through the stigmas that have the world wanting us locked up, locked away. To prove that we are worthy people in society, worthy of respect, of consideration, of just plain friendliness.
I wish you knew these things—because behind my smile, I'm desperately hoping that you don't see my illness. I don't want you to think I'm weak. I just want you to think I'm just like everyone else—because I am.
I simply live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and . And I'm one of millions who want you to know that mental illness isn't a choice.