Well, hello there. So it’s been about a month since my last blog. Since coming home from hospital things have been busy and hard and crazy and hard and… did I say hard? I’ve wanted to blog, but haven’t been in the headspace to do it. Nor have I had time – not with working full-time, weekly appointments with my psychologist and my psychiatrist and starting a weekly two-and-a-half-hour DBT course (which has been amazing – I’ll blog about this soon). It’s been really tough and I’ve found this past month one of the hardest ever. I don’t know if I feel ready to write about any of that stuff yet, however I did have a lightning strike of inspiration/motivation to blog tonight so I’m going to take advantage of it and write about something that’s been on my mind lately.
Alright. Let’s take it away.
If you’re someone who suffers from mental illness than I can guarantee you’ve heard this from someone (or lots of someones) before:
“You’re so lucky to have __________ (insert name of partner, family member, friend, etc. here).”
If you’re someone who suffers from mental illness than I can also guarantee you’ve never heard (or rarely heard) this from someone before:
“__________ (insert name of partner, family member, friend, etc. here) is so lucky to have you.”
It seems to be a fundamental fact that when someone is suffering from mental illness other people feel the need to remark how lucky they are for the people around them. I’m not saying this isn’t true and that I’m not grateful for those helping me through this – I am. However when you are struggling with mental illness there is a good chance your self-worth is at an all time low (i.e. non-exsistant). And having people constantly remind you how lucky you are for others and not that those people are lucky for you doesn’t do anything to help this.
“You’re so lucky your partner puts up with all of this from you.”
“You’re so lucky work doesn’t get mad about all the time you have off.”
“You’re so lucky to have me – no one else would let you pull the shit you pull and get away with it.”
“You’re so lucky to still have friends that care about you.”
These are all statements I’ve not just heard, but heard regularly; it’s an added bonus of having a mental illness. I am lucky. I can appreciate that. But you know what – all these people are lucky, too.
I work with children who have a disability. Even though I might feel flat and low, I go to work and smile and laugh and make their day more enjoyable. I come home and crash at four o’clock too exhausted to move because I’ve poured the small amount of energy I have into helping them. I could do the bare minimum and get away with it but I don’t because I care about every single one of them.
I never make eye contact with someone who I walk past in the shop and not smile at them. I tell everyone to have a nice day.
I force myself to take my dog walking even on days when all I want to do is hide under a blanket and sleep because I want to see him wagging his tail and I know a walk is the best thing in the world to him.
No matter how empty I may feel inside I see my friends and make jokes to make them smile. I might be struggling too much to want to talk, but I will spend over an hour on the phone to talk through my friend’s boyfriend drama and tell her how she’s way too good for him anyway.
I might be difficult to live with and have daily meltdowns and yoyo between loving and hating my partner and lack the motivation to do anything but curl up and distract myself with Netflix most nights. But I always make sure the house is perfect before he gets home from work even though I work full-time too, just because I want him to be able to come home and relax. I cook our dinner 90% of the time. I drive out of my way to the shops no matter how badly I want to get home to pick him up something he wants. I cuddle with him even when I’m feeling so emotionally sensitive that someone else’s touch is physically painful. I stay up late talking to him about things that make him happy even though I just want to be alone to try and reign in my thoughts enough to get some sleep that night.
Yes, I’m lucky to have these people. But these people are lucky to have me, too.
I’m a good person. I help others. I’m nice to everyone. I would never intentionally hurt someone. The world is lucky to have me.
Even though 99% of the time I hate myself and feel useless and worthless there is that 1% of me that can sometimes realise that I’m not. And that people, that the world, are lucky to have me. And I think everyone needs to step back and realise that people with mental illness might be lucky for those that care about them, but all those people are just as lucky to have that person in their life, too.