An Open Letter to My Mental Illness

Subject: An Open Letter to My Mental Illness
Date: 27 Jun 2016

Dear Mental Illness,

I don’t know how to open this; I could say we met in a poetic way with a terrible childhood experience or we could say it was an ex-boyfriend or my teen pregnancy but I am not sure that is correct. I feel like you have been there all along, living inside my head. I can’t exactly explain it to anyone when they ask about my spouts of depression or anxiety, I feel like I am being an attention whore. Instead I will tell you how I feel when you decide to come along and grace me with you company. When you show up I don’t always feel sad or want to cry, sometimes I can’t feel anything. I can wake up and feel like it’s the best day of my life and then 10 o’clock rolls around and I feel like dying would be the best choice for me. When I have those days nothing happens to make me feel like that way you just decide to show up unannounced.
Have you made me contemplate suicide? Yes, many times, I have yet to actually attempt it though. I think that is partly because I’ve lost someone close to me to suicide and I would rather suffer this numbing pain for the rest of my life rather than put my family through that again. Sometimes you make me feel like doing drugs or drinking. I don’t know if that’s for the fact it makes you go away for a short time or if it’s just something that runs in my family. You have made me try pain pills, and of course drinking. I think if I didn’t have my son I would let loose and become one of those cliché losers who drink and live in a drug induced haze just so you can’t get to me for a while.
Let’s talk about how you cause problems in my everyday relationships. I cannot for the life of me form affectionate relationships anymore, and to be honest I don’t think I ever could. When someone touches me or even hugs me I feel like I am faking it. I can’t even hug my mom without cringing, and that’s not because I don’t love her, because I do. She is my best friend. I just can’t show affection. I can’t fake it and you are to blame I’m sure. I could go on for ages about how easy it is to just have sex with someone and leave without a second thought but I don’t want to be that person. So I will leave it at this you make is so hard to want to be with someone past the sex. Sex is rather meaningless to me, so I don’t have to worry about attachment issues. That’s why I have a high number of partners. I know what you’re probably thinking, that I do it for some form of gratification or to feel wanted, that is not true. I feel absolutely no attachment at the beginning of the act and I have none at the end. I guess you can say it’s all about the common goal of sex, pleasure. That being said if by some chance I do connect with someone and give them affection it is always the wrong person and they take advantage of the fact that I have you around.
My most recent ex furthered my problem with you. He basically threw me to the wolves, those wolves being you. I know his own demons are partly to blame, unfortunately he has yet to confront them like I confront you. He pushed me so far down on myself that I literally thought I might die without him. So when I broke free of that abusive relationship I started to become more acquainted with my problems and those problems start with you. I guess in turn him hurting me actually helped me, and one day maybe I will thank him for that. Until that day comes and I can face him again I will focus solely on dealing with you.

Since we have talked about how you have ruined relationships let’s move on to how you help me lie not only to my friends and family daily but to myself. I have people ask me “How are you?” and I do the generic “Great Thanks! You?” because for me that is a difficult question to answer honestly. I put on this amazing front for people, unless you really know me you wouldn’t think twice when I say I’m okay. I have fun, I hang out with friends and my son. We laugh, we talk, we do everything happy people do. I should be happy; I have no reason not to. Regrettable that isn’t how I actually feel. No one knows the feelings you bring me once I am alone in my own head. I could say you make me feel immensely sad, so sad I cannot move but that is also a lie. You and your friends make me feel a whirl wind of emotions all at once, and sometimes I can’t breathe. Sometimes you come in all at once or in waves. I often deal with you the only way I know how, and that is sleeping.
I sleep way more than I probably should, but that is the one place you can’t reach me. I am a peace with myself in my dreams, I don’t have your haunting essence around to control my every thought. I can finally feel free. One day I would like to wake up and spend the entire day happy and not counting down the minutes till I can go home and sleep. I want to beat you one day.
I know I should seek professional help when it comes to confronting my issues with you, but in all honesty that scares me more than dealing with you alone. What if they think I am lying about you? Or even worse what if you are a bigger problem than I think? I know I need help but I don’t think I am ready for it. One day I will be I hope; I know I will never fully beat you but I would like to at least be on the winning side for once.

Regrettable Yours,
Sarah Elizabeth