Today’s pop culture has created a certain image of the life with mental disorders, but there are many parts all those books, movies and songs never mention, things even people with the illnesses often don’t even realize.
1. Choosing recovery
Yes, recovery is a choice everyone can make, but people always make it look like you do that once and for all and then there might be this or the other relapse and then you’re on a rollercoaster that only goes up, right? Well, that’s not how it works. Recovery is not something you decide for once, but every day. And that’s what makes it so hard. Every time you’re being confronted with the triggers of your disorder, you need to make the choice again. Will I choose the easy way and just give in to the voice in my head or will I do the right and hard thing and fight it? You know that giving in will give make you feel relaxed, comfortable and peaceful for a while (unlike fighting it which will make you feel stressed and anxious), but you also know that it will destroy you. That’s why you chose recovery in the first place. You don’t want the disorder to destroy you. But it’s so much easier, isn’t it? For instance, one of my biggest triggers is food and I need to make the choice to either starve, binge, purge or eat healthy and normal every single day and it doesn’t get easier. Not at all.
2. How hard the simplest things can be
One example: summer. It’s July, really hot and sunny, and everyone I know loves spending their spare time swimming, tanning and relaxing at the lake. Well, everyone but me. I love swimming and spending time with my friends and family, but besides the fact that I hate the heat, tanning and sunshine in general, short clothes make me feel nothing but terrible. I hate my body. The stretch marks, the weight, the scars… I can’t wear anything that shows more than my arms and decollete, and therefore shorts or, even worse, bikinis, are absolutely impossible. Sucks. And the hardest part will be our vacation at the end of the summer which will be, yay, in Italy. One of the most beautiful countries in the world, but also one of the countries where you can’t wear jeans in August, especially not at the beach or pool. Thanks, eating disorder. Everyone is excited about their vacation and I’m scared as hell.
3. The magical cure named counseling
Isn’t it what everyone expects? You show up for your appointments, cooperate, do what the therapist wants and then you’re automatically better because, you know, that person has studied this and is getting a shit load of money for treating you. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works either. Yes, counseling will help you, but it will not cure you. Regardless of how much time you spend with your therapist, you still need to work on yourself even more. Those people can only listen to your problems, give you advice and make you realize what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, but they can’t solve anything. Unfortunately, the only one who can save you is you.
4. How hard living with such a disorder is
Mental illnesses don’t take breaks. They don’t show up and disappear when it’s convenient. They’re always there, every second, every minute, every hour, every day, and it never ends. Why don’t people realize that there’s nothing harder than fighting a war inside your own head all the time?
5. No, just because I’m fine doesn’t mean I’ll always be
Yeah, there are good days, but there are also bad ones. I might be okay today, but I’ll probably break down tomorrow because one good day doesn’t mean that everything is over and will always be awesome. That’s not how it works. That’s not how easy it is.
6. That there’s nothing romantic, beautiful or glamorous about it
Depression is not sitting on the rooftop at night with a cigarette Lana Del Rey songs. It’s lying in your bed at the middle of the night wondering how long you’ll be able to handle feeling so frozen inside, like there’s nothing left of you.
Anorexia is not a skinny pretty girl refusing a piece of cake for her bikini body. It’s a voice in your head that makes you feel like you will never be good enough until you’ve starved yourself to death.
Anxiety is not burying your face in your lover’s chest being told that everything will be okay. It’s a constant terrifying fear that makes even the smallest things impossible to handle.
Oh, and then there are those people who post their self harm wounds because the blood is so inspiring and beautiful and whatever.
Why the fucking hell do people think it’s cool or special to suffer from a disorder? What. Is. Wrong. With. You?