Specifically, mental illness is hard.
Like, really hard.
Why’s that, I hear you ask.
Because you’re sick. But you’re sick without any of the sick people benefits.
No one is cooking me soup, I don’t get any days off work, and worst of all, there’s no one looking after me.
If you have the flu people will flock to you with tissues and tea and remedies galore, but with a mental illness you have to be your own support. You have to take care of yourself.
And on top of that, mental illnesses don’t just make you sick for a week and then go away – they are usually in it for the long haul.
I got inspired to write this post while I was on a walk this morning. Now you might think to yourself that a walk sounds nice, relaxing even. But I was not on this walk because I wanted to stretch my legs, or because it was a particularly nice day outside.
I went on this walk because I am depressed, and my counsellor told me I have to. And because there is no-one encouraging me out of bed or tying my shoelaces when I really don’t want to, I had to make myself do it.
I went on that walk because I knew it counted as Self Care™, and that is another thing that I am supposed to be doing (can you tell I’m not too thrilled about that either?).
It’s like trying to convince a moody teenager to do something, except another moody teenager is doing the convincing, and neither of them really have their heart in it.
I got myself out the door by making a smoothie that would be ready for me when I got home, and taking my phone so I could play Pokemon Go.
While I was on my walk, I thought to myself, this just isn’t fair! Not-depressed people don’t have to go for walks! (I did realise that not-depressed people might actually want to go for walks, but that’s not the point)
It’s so hard to have to constantly force yourself to do things that other people find easy, or don’t even have to think about.
It’s so hard to force yourself to do things you know you are supposed to enjoy, even when it just feels like a hassle.
It’s hard to have to be your own motivator and nutritionist and life coach when really you aren’t even qualified to be a dog walker.
How are you supposed to take care of things like self care and therapy when you still haven’t graduated from getting out of bed every day school?
There’s probably not an answer. Or maybe there is, but only mental health professionals know and they aren’t allowed to share. I’ll have to ask next time I see her, and I’ll let you all know what she says.