Mental Illness: An Issue Close To My Heart

Today I thought I would write about an issue which I am very passionate about, that being mental illness. I have grown up around it as many of my close family members suffer from bipolar disorder and depression, I too have experienced both depression and post-natal depression and let me tell you, it is a battle you can't afford to lose, you must fight to free yourself, and it is an uphill battle, but also one you can most definitely win. I was lucky that, like for most people, medication worked but I must be on my guard, I must keep my diet clean and healthy and I must exercise and get plenty of vitamin D as a precautionary measure. Once you're already depressed these can help but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, at least in my case.

So let me show you this piece of art I created back in 2012 to represent the ongoing battle which I have experienced, watched growing up and still see today among friends and family.
Good Versus Evil Fairy Wrapped Canvas Canvas Print
Good Versus Evil Fairy Wrapped Canvas Canvas Print by AllysDesigns
Browse Inner battle Canvas Prints

As this darkness hitches a ride it bogs you down, you pretend you're going about your daily business without a care in the world but it tries to pull you back and slows you down in everything you do. Something is not right in the darkest shadows of your mind. You know that one day you will become tired as it is heavy and you will start to sink. It is the monster which, when it manages to get its arms around you it wants to eat you, it wants to eat your friends, it wants to eat your job, it wants to eat your relationships, your passion, your energy, your mind, your self esteem, your life and last of all, it wants to pick its teeth with your soul, all while hissing in your ear "You're weak, you're not valuable or special, the medication wont work, you're not depressed, seeking help is weakness, going to the doctors is too scary, everyone would be better off without you...". It is a monster which you are running from, a monster which looks so much bigger than you, one that is ugly and scary to look upon, one which you know that one day you have to turn around and try to fight to reclaim your sense of safety and worthiness. 

This is the battle which is dark, deep and invisible, it is one that people who haven't experienced don't understand and have the luxury to pass judgment on, and I pray these people never have to experience it, but hope that one day they will come to develop empathy and an understanding that it is not weakness, it is not negative thinking, it is not laziness, it is not about seeking attention - for most people this battle is very private, it is not a scourge which is willingly released upon oneself, that just makes no sense. No one wakes up and says "I feel like I want to be unhappy or unable to function today!". No one wants pity. It is physical, mental and chemical all rolled into one and you have to attack all three from all sides. It is mental illness and you are tangled in a net in the ocean, you are drowning and you're completely helpless. And when you go and get help, you start taking medication and start getting healthy again, you are untangling the net, then you're swimming upwards until you finally reach the top and come up for your first, desperate, life giving breath of air just in the nick of time. You can see, you can feel relief and you can begin to feel like the danger is gone. It is a wonderful feeling!

I hope this was enlightening, as I said above this issue is close to my heart, I have seen and experienced the struggle and I want to let everyone know that mental illness is something which needs support and understanding, and it is something which can be managed. There is hope! Never, ever give up fighting for yourself! You ARE VALUABLE and you ARE SPECIAL! And you are a worthy opponent, you will win the battle against the monster, just by taking action you are already winning!

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