This post has sat here for a few weeks now while I debated whether or not to post it. I decided to go ahead.
I didn’t take the comment I was portraying myself as a whiner on social media too personally, but I did feel indignant on behalf of people who are mentally ill like me and have been called that. From September to January, I was in a dark cycle of depression and anxiety. I could see no positivity anywhere. The only two things keeping me from drowning completely was fear of hurting my family and friend that checked in with me each day and talked to me. I did post a lot of things about anxiety and depression in general on social media. I cannot judge if it was the best coping mechanism. I know people don’t like to see their feeds flooded with negativity, but a person battling mental illness doesn’t entirely recognize all that they are doing at the time. In hindsight, I probably over posted. However, I don’t regret my actions too much. I had people send messages of comfort and approach me about the own problems with depression, anxiety, and so on. They were scared to talk about it openly. Mental illness is still a stigma in this country, and people are taught to suck it up and not say anything. Do know what happens when you call a mentally ill person a whiner?
Severe emotional damage.
Talking about your mental illness is one the bravest things a person can do for themselves. Regretfully, there will always be people out there that fail to understand it, no matter how hard you explain. There will always be that thought in their head that you are just whining to put off participating in life. There may be people like that, but for me and others suffering severe depression, it’s not true. Just getting out of bed is a victory each day. Each time we accomplish just one task, it is a small slap in the face of depression. It takes courage, strength, and more willpower than you think possible to pull yourself out of the funk even a little bit. If you have a pairing like anxiety and depression, it’s a vicious cycle that takes most of the life out of you. It does feel like you are drowning or a horrible disease is eating you up from the inside. These phrases, I’ve been told before, sound dramatic. Come now, is there a good way to describe what depression feels like? Depression feels like soft raindrops on the skin or being wrapped in a fuzzy, warm blanket. If only.
I’ve been posting less on social media about my depression. Not because I’ve been asked to stop, but I feel a little better. I don’t’ feel fantastic, but I feel more functional. I’ve revived old hobbies like painting to quiet my mind. I’ve adopted a dog, and we go on walks together. Flowers are blooming, and I’ve been working in my garden beds. I’m trying to come back to life. My severe depression episodes come in cycles. I’m relatively okay for a bit; then it starts to creep back in. I think this time’s been’s creeping back in for a few years. I think the
real beginning was when my grandmother. I was overseas, felt helpless, and was in a country where suicide is the preferred solution to mental health issues instead of counseling. I stuffed all my emotions down into a little box. However, that box can only hold so much. It takes so much energy to look and act okay in front of others. A majority of people with mental illnesses don’t go around looking visibly said. Goodness knows if we speak about what is getting us down openly, we are labeled as whiners.
Did you know some of the greatest writers, artists, and scientists had mental illnesses? Virginia Woolf suffered from severe mental breakdowns caused by bipolar disorder. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression along with other disorders. So I know things didn’t end well for these two, but genius is often paired with some mental disorder. Art, writing and inventing serve as outlets for people who have too much going on in their minds. I’m not sure if anyone called them a whiner, but I’m pretty sure they got enough harassment from the people around them. People normally don’t choose to be mentally ill. They are born that way and at least now there is better access to help.
If you are suffering in silence from mental illness, you are not alone. Don’t let the people who accuse you of being dramatic or whiny stop you from getting the help you need. There is a support network out there.