I need help.
I never wanted or intended to admit my mental illness because like many others, it was never a topic of conversation. My illness is rooted in feelings of shame and inability to be the best I can possibly be. I portray myself as strong and independent; I am educated, I have a supportive family and friend group, I have a job, a stable income, insurance, and a plethora of other privileges. I don’t need help, but I do.
You can busy yourself to the point of exhaustion – you can practice yoga every day, you can meditate, work out, you can share your feelings to your friends – really good friends will listen, others will help by taking you out. All the happy hours, the shots, the dancing, may feel good. You may choose not to go home after a night of drinking and spend the night with someone who makes you feel something. These may or may not be therapeutic but at the end of the day, you need to go home. I have been running away from this feeling and lack thereof. I ask myself, why do we only seek help when we crash and burn? Why does it take failing grades, a lost job, or a suicide attempt before we seek care?
We take a sick day when we are consumed with physical ailments – a bad cough, the flu, a broken limb, or even a bad hangover, but what about the debilitating effects of mental illness? What about the exhaustion from anxiety and overthinking everything? The fatigue from suppressing and avoiding the mental clutter that weighs us down every single day; why do we feel weak if we admit to our mental limitations?
No, I cannot just get over it, just like a diabetic cannot get over their inability to produce insulin or the cancer patient who cannot just stop the uncontrolled growth of their cancer cells. I need to face this illness and recognize it for what it is. Only when I can accept that this is how my mind works, that I can seek the help I need and finally start my path to recovery. We all need help and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I need help and I have sought it.