An open letter to someone suffering from mental illness

An open letter to someone suffering from mental illness

Hello,

 

I’ve been where you are now. I know how hard it is. I want you to know that you are not alone and it will get better.

 

Firstly, let me tell you again that you are not alone. I know that being trapped in your own mind, unable to make connections with the world around you is so lonely, but you are not alone. You are loved. You are worthwhile. You are valuable. You probably don’t believe those words, but they are true. You may not be able to see those connections right now, but they are still there. You are not alone.

 

I’m sorry that you are struggling and finding life hard. I’m sorry that battling your thoughts feels relentless, like a dog chasing its tail. Maybe you find certain behaviours impossible to change despite wanting to change so desperately. Maybe you are exhausted by your own mind and feel like you can’t escape the voice that is grinding you down. Maybe you are feeling hopeless and vulnerable. I’m sorry you feel that way. I know it’s both physically and mentally exhausting to suffer from mental illness. Every morning feels like Groundhog Day. Be kind to yourself – what you are going through is a big deal. It’s completely and utterly normal that you find it hard – anybody would. It’s ok that you can’t do all the things you normally expect yourself to do. You are currently fighting a bigger battle so you need to redirect your resources. Don’t beat yourself up – mental illness is hard work. 

 

I know that there are so many things you are feeling right now and none of them are compassionate and kind. Let me tell you, there is no shame in being ill. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t happen to a certain type of person. It says nothing about your value or worth as a person. You don’t need to feel guilty that you can’t keep all your plates spinning right now. You don’t need to feel guilty that you’re taking time out. Mental illness, like physical illness is taxing on the body. Don’t feel guilty – give yourself a break and accept you are ill. Sometimes in the midst of mental illness everything is overwhelming and you feel lost and helpless. But you are not without hope. You can recover and this won’t stay the same forever. It may take longer than you think to get better. Being better might look different to what you expect. It may take harder work than you realised. But you are not without hope. This will not be your reality forever. 

Getting better is totally achievable but not straight forward. Don’t be disheartened if the first thing you try doesn’t work. It may take trying lots of different things over time to see the benefits. You may need medication. Therapy. Talking. Exercise. Essential oils. Hobbies. Friendship. Making big changes. Making small changes. You may need to do everything or just one thing. Your brain is unique to you, so you need to find what helps your mind heal. I know this isn’t what you what to hear but it’s best to know upfront what recovery looks like. Find the things that work for you and keep doing them. It took me 9 months of saying to myself ‘You do not need to be ashamed of being ill’ to actually believe it. 9 months of saying something that I knew I needed to hear. 9 months of saying something that I thought was nonsense. But after 9 months, slowly but surely, I started to believe it and release the shame. It was one step closer to recovery and so the 9 months of saying a sentence to myself each day was worth it. 

 

Lastly, I know that talking about it all can be so scary, but words are so powerful. And healing. Whether you choose to write in a journal, text the Samaritans helpline, tell your GP or your bestie, please don’t go through this alone. There are so many people who can support you and make this more bearable. 

 

From the bottom of my heart, I send you love and understanding. 

 

It’s OK to not be OK. 

It’s good to talk. 

 

I’m hear if you need me xx

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