Have you ever felt like you’re dying?
Let’s talk about physical illness for a second… Have you ever been hot and sweaty with a fever? Have you ever slept all day from exhaustion? Have you ever not been able to breathe out of your nose? Have you ever felt physically in pain all over your body? I’m sure you have and I’m sure that people felt sorry for you, perhaps even helped you by offering you medication, time off work, hot soup… People are awfully sympathetic when it’s clear that you aren’t well on the outside, but why aren’t they when you are unwell on the inside?
Many believe that mental illness does not have physical consequences but, as you will have seen in my last post, it most certainly does. All of the symptoms of a bad case of the flu are mirrored when in a bad state of anxiety: sweating, shaking, exhaustion, headaches…
Recently, I discovered a ‘BuzzFeed’ article that explains exactly what I’m trying to get across in this post. Check it out HERE. I can relate to every single one of the cartoons drawn for that article and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you can too.
People will tell you to ‘get a grip’ or ‘stop being stupid’ or that ‘people elsewhere have it a lot worse… you have a roof over your head and money in the bank – what have you got to worry about?’ It takes a lot of courage to admit to someone that you’re struggling and have mental health problems. There are some people in your life that will never understand and the thing is I GET IT! It must be nearly impossible to understand why the concept of walking up the road and posting a letter fills me with dread but it does. Nobody can tell you how to feel.
What I am trying to get across is that it is okay to not be okay. Never feel like your mental health is any less of a priority than your physical health. Never feel like it isn’t real just because it’s in your head and not evident in a rash covering your whole body. It is hard for those who don’t suffer with mental illness to understand but it’s important that they try. All we can do is explain how we feel.
Sometimes I feel like I’m dying, even if I don’t look like I am.
Image: Devil’s Dyke last year.