Mental illness isn’t what you think.
Depression isn’t warm fuzzy blankets and someone holding you when you’re feeling down. Depression is frigid and lonely. Depressed isn’t a feeling you get when something goes wrong. Depression is a deep dark hole that swallows you up and only lets you out every once in awhile. When you’re drowning in sadness and all you can see is how dreadful everything is you hope that the hole swallows you up for good and that the water consumes you. You lie in bed and imagine how much easier it would be to die. But you know people would just say you’re selfish. So in attempt to be strong you get out of your bed and find company. “What’s wrong?” They ask. You can’t explain that everything is dark and heavy and that you feel like you’re existing for no reason so you just say, “I just feel sad”. They tell you “It’s okay” and you have to pretend to be otherwise it’s all your fault. Because it is your fault. You held the scissors and forced them across your skin. “How could you do something so stupid”. They don’t know how to help you but they get angry when you find your own way of coping. So you cope and you cope and you cut and you scar and no one knows because if you tell them, they will once again be disappointed and they will leave. Depression is suffering alone because no one can physically see that you’re broken so it must not be happening.
Anorexia isn’t a flat stomach and long lean legs. It is not eating only a couple peas at dinner either. Anorexia is an evil voice in your head that rips at your brain until you starve yourself more to make the voice quieter. The voice never seems to get quieter though. The more you obey, the louder it becomes. It would be easier not to obey but you have to because the evil voice has control and you no longer exist. Anorexia is mind-crippling and terrifying and lonely. “She doesn’t eat.” he says. But will he ever try to help? No, because not eating is not the same as not being able to walk up the stairs. If someone had a broken leg, you would help them up the stairs. A broken and messed up mind impairs you from fueling your body but no one will say or do anything because they can’t see what is broken. They can not see why you do the things you do so they leave. Once again you’re battling this alone.
OCD isn’t organized pens and a perfectly made bed. OCD is washing your hands twelve times every time you use the bathroom or else something horrible will happen. OCD is having to do things again and again or just right so that your grandmother stays alive. OCD is exhausting and scary, so please stop saying you’re “so OCD” when you’re referring to the way your desk is organized. It is not the same. Don’t laugh at the kid who folds his pants repeatedly before leaving the locker room, because it’s not funny. It’s not funny to not be able to go into the gym because you can’t escape the voice in your head. It’s always there but no one can see it.
Please stop saying you’re depressed when you broke your favorite pair of heels. Please stop calling random people anorexic if they are naturally thin. Please stop referring to yourself as OCD if you keep things organized. Because some of us are these things, but no one knows what it actually means. No one knows how scary and serious all of this is.