1. I am one in every 20 people that you will meet
clinical depression is real. bipolar illness is real. fibromylgia is real. chronic pain is real. if i am stuck in my sadness, anxiety, pain, fogginess, anger, or rage for weeks, or even months, i could be any of the above. be careful what you say about any of these illnesses, or what you say about those “crazy” people. if you have never experienced any of these, you don’t understand – so please don’t pretend to know “just how I feel”. I am all around you. I might even BE you.
2. I don’t want to be sick
I didn’t pick this for me. I don’t want to be stuck here in this isolation, anger, insomnia, sadness, darkness. there is nothing about this that is okay with me.
3. I can’t think my way out of being sick
if I could just feel better, I would. just like a diabetic can’t just say “I don’t want diabetes”. life happens, and I don’t have the power in my mind to get well.
4. I don’t want to ask for help (or admit I am not okay)
one of the major signs of these illnesses is not being able to admit I am sad (in a disabling kind of way). I am not strong enough to know I need help. by asking for help, I would have to admit I am NOT okay, and i simply can’t face this possibility.
5. I feel “crazy”
I know things are not as they should be, and i am scared of all of these feelings. but I don’t know what to do about it. i feel desperately lost and confused.
6. I need YOUR help to get well
hold me accountable – when I am sick, I am not well enough to evaluate my situation. do whatever you can do to get me to a medical professional, as soon as you see signs
7. I am not weak because I take meds
most people suffering from mental illness or physical illnesses can be helped by medication and/or therapy. don’t make comments about me being lesser, weaker, not strong in enough “my faith” because I am on meds.
8. I might stop taking my meds when I start to feel better – and I can not do this
no other disease has so many people taking themselves OFF of prescribed medication. I will fight my battle with being on these meds for a lifetime. I don’t want to “need” my pills, but I do. Watch for me spiraling, and ask me the hard question, “are you taking your meds?” (but don’t ask me in the middle of a fight -please don’t do this)
9. I cannot explain how I feel
I don’t even understand it myself. i am angry about nothing, and sad about everything. but i can’t even explain it to me.
10. I can’t depend on your happy life to get me better
your being in a good mood, and being cheery won’t help me out of my depression. even you doing wonderful, sweet, generous, thoughtful things for me – won’t chase my sickness away
11. I want to hide all the time, from myself, from my spouse, from my closest friends
I am terrified to be around you when I am depressed. even for a while after being on meds, i still don’t feel like the “old me”. give me time, don’t ask me how i am all the time. BUT, still check on me.
12. I still need your help, even months, even years after my diagnosis – diseases don’t just go away.
I need your accountability to be honest about what you see, when you see it. please don’t avoid the obvious. I need your courage when I am weak.
13. I have to fight to be well
it is a fight, a daily choice, often over and over again on any given day, to fight this disease, so it won’t win over me.
These issues are real. It is all around you. You have a role in understanding and helping those you know who are struggling. And the problem is only getting bigger. Open your eyes, and your mind to the realities of this disease.