On Mental Illness

Even the smallest connections mean something when you’re battling mental illness.

I read an article recently on Odyssey that examines how mental illness isn’t seen as valid excuse for anything, but that it NEEDS to be.

I’ve been going through a hard time lately. I haven’t really been talking about it because I still feel shame for allowing myself the time to “heal”. A few weeks ago, I posted a vague update on Facebook saying that the hardest battle I’ve ever fought is the one against my own soul.

(I’ve been battling episodes of severe pain, debilitating migraines, deep despair, confusion, panic and disassociating. The fatigue that comes from battling those demons, both physical and emotional, real and imagined, is the worst I’ve ever felt.)

Sometimes I feel like I came into this world carrying the weight of my ancestors’ traumas in my veins.

But this story isn’t about me.

The media isn’t helping. Everyday we’re bombarded with wars on women, on men, on mental illness, on health care, on information, on race, on other countries, and, worst of all, war on ourselves.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you this.

It feels uncomfortable.

Mental Illness still feels like something I should hide.

But I don’t really want to. Because I think we should talk.

But I don’t want you to say you’re sorry.

I want you to connect.

I want you to acknowledge that everyone suffers in their own way from their own stories.

For some, sadness is something that only occurs with the death of a loved one or a trauma.

For others, suffering is a lifelong battle against strong storms of anger and despair.

In the last few weeks, I had a shocking realization: even the smallest connections are meaningful.

Like (real and internet) friends who respond to Instagram stories and Facebook posts.

Like the baristas at Starbucks who makes my Soy Flat White, poured into those red holiday cups that have a little heart made of outlines of hands, who always smile and say “Have a good day!”, even when they’re elbows deep in Grande Lattes.

Like the person in the grocery store who says something, maybe cracks a little joke, instead of pretending you’re a giant statue in the middle of the snack aisle that they’re trying to get around without bumping into.

Like the person that holds the door open, even when their hands are full.

Sometimes these small connections are all we need to keep us going through the hardest times.

A reminder that we aren’t in this battle alone.

Thank you.

So… how was your day?

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