Why isn’t emotional illness the same as any other medical illness? Submitted by a brave survivor.   Dear friends, I’ve been sick all week with pneumonia. I’ve been quite weak and fatigued. I’ve had trouble breathing and was fighting a fever. I was at the doctor twice and at the hospital twice. I woke up this morning finally feeling a bit better. The sun was brightly […]

Why isn’t emotional illness the same as any other medical illness?

Submitted by a brave survivor.

 

Dear friends,
I’ve been sick all week with pneumonia. I’ve been quite weak and fatigued. I’ve had trouble breathing and was fighting a fever. I was at the doctor twice and at the hospital twice.

I woke up this morning finally feeling a bit better. The sun was brightly shining through my window. The trees outside my window were coated with the most beautiful and colorful leaves. Today will be an amazing day, or so I thought. I’m feeling a bit better and it’s a gorgeous day outside.

So I ask you, or more precisely, I ask myself, why am I still in bed a few hours later? Why do I feel this heaviness and darkness? Why are my legs feeling immobile? Why do I even have this lump in my throat? It makes no sense. I’ve been sick all week and now I’m finally feeling better and to top it off, it’s a magnificent day out there! So why do I feel so sad and depressed?

My dear friends, the answer is simple. When I was visibly sick, I was getting the support of others. People were asking how I’m feeling. My co workers were texting me to see how I’m doing. People were concerned for my well being. I felt that I belonged and felt needed.

However,  now that I’m feeling physically better, I’m re entering my emotional illnesses and for that I get no support. No sympathy at all. No one is cheering me on when I wake up each morning despite the enormous energy it takes to battle my every desire to stay in bed. This desire is not coming from a lazy place. It’s coming from the huge weight that depression and PTSD puts on me every day. It attempts to paralyze me and make me unable to work or function.

Being someone that went through childhood abuse of all sorts, I can testify that the scars that stay with you are heavy and deep. It effects me in almost every area in my life. Triggers and flashbacks come at any hour of the day or night. By day they are in the form of triggers and by night they are in the form of nightmares. My emotional mind is very scarred from my past as well as my physical body and immune system which are very weakened from years and years of emotional pain and suffering.

I’ve been to therapy for many years and I’m working extremely hard in so many areas at once to grow a new sense of self. A self that deserves love and care. A self that deserves a voice and an opinion. A self that deserves to display emotions and not keep everything buried and hidden. A self that deserves compassion and care.

Slowly, but steadily, I’m becoming that self. I do see myself growing into that new being. I see a real metamorphosis. I see my barriers that were once so strong, slowly starting to crumble apart. It almost feels like I’m doing the wrong thing by breaking the barriers that I’ve been living with for so many years. It feels unsafe to break them. However, I know that those barriers weren’t placed there with my consent and now that I’m an adult I have the right to tear them down.

So dear friends, I’ve come a long way but I still suffer and struggle a lot. I have my good days and bad days. Today is a hard day for me but I know and I hope that tomorrow is another day.
But at the same time, my heart bleeds and breaks for the many other  abuse victims out there. The darkness that we feel can be so dark that you can almost feel it with your hand. The loneliness and despair is strong enough to keep you glued to your bed. If you do have the power to fight it and get out, no one cheers you on and if you don’t have the strength to get out, no one understands.

So I’m here to tell you, whoever is reading this, that although I don’t know you, Although I’ve never seen you and will probably never see you. I still feel your pain so strongly. I feel it because I know the pain all too well. I’m here to cry with you on your hard and lonely days and I’m here to cheer you on when you have a victory. When you are able to get out of bed and push yourself to work. When you are able to show your kids the love and support that you never got. When you are able to face yet another memory in therapy and process it.

I’m so intimately familiar with it all and I’m therefore sending my most heartfelt support to you for all that you are going through.
Keep strong!
Keep fighting!
Please never give up!
When the going gets really tough, sit back and take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to feel your pain. Yes, you deserve to feel it. You didn’t choose this way of life and you’re allowed to feel this way. But at the same time, please know, that no matter how heavy the darkness feels now, it will get lighter and you will get past it!

Posted in media, news-articles, op-eds, survivors-letters.


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