I have known for a very long time that there is a severe lack of understanding when it comes to mental illness. Not only a lack of understanding, but a lack of willingness to understand. With things like depression, anxiety, bipolar, and the like people have the tendency to say the same thing: just get over it.
Do you know how insanely frustrating that can be? When someone tells me to just get over it, I want to die inside. How wonderful would it be for it to be that simple? I don’t like how I feel, I don’t like not having any control. If I could just CHOOSE to no longer feel the way that I do, I would absolutely make that choice.
The analogy I use all the time is one I read somewhere else. I wish I could remember where. But it is actually from a Christian’s perspective. Apparently the church is huge on ignoring mental illness. I have personally witnessed this, and it is why I have struggled a lot with my faith. “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel this way.” “Just pray about it.” So, on to the analogy: if someone came to you with a broken arm and said they were in pain would you tell them to “just get over it.” “Did you try NOT being in pain?” “Did you pray about it?” “If you believed in God, your arm wouldn’t be broken.”
Sounds pretty silly, right? So why do we – from a secular and a religious perspective – tell people with broken minds to just get over it? Why do we not encourage them to seek help as we would for a physical ailment? Why is it so hard to understand that our insides can work just as poorly as our outsides?
I had started to be a lot more open about my mental health in recent days because I thought there was a surge of understanding happening. I thought “people get this, FINALLY!” and though I do not bombard them with it on a regular basis, I do make mention occasionally when things are particularly bad, or even when I feel like I’m doing really well. But it has come to my attention that some of the people I thought were understanding have actually been saying some pretty terrible things behind my back. A lot of “wait, she isn’t over that yet?”
I can’t tell you how much I hurt today. How much I hurt for myself, and how much I hurt for my husband. Do you know how hard it is to be a spouse of a mentally unwell person? I know he doesn’t have it even remotely easy. He is carrying so much on his shoulders. Then these people act as if what we are both facing together is not as serious as we believe? That we should just be “over it” by now? I can’t wrap my mind around the… ignorance of that statement. It hurts that much more when it is coming from someone who you thought cared.
I’m just feeling a lot of hurt today. I don’t know how to process it, or how to bring it up. This blog will continue to remain a secret to all those in my life. Because processing my thoughts through written word has been extremely helpful for me so far, but I can’t imagine someone reading it and thinking how silly it is I’m not “over it” yet.
If you feel like me, if you struggle like me, know this: It is absolutely okay to not be over it. It is absolutely okay to not be okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’ll see you soon.