The struggle with mental illness is a journey, a journey that can be told through a story, if only the words existed for such a dark tale.
Honestly, I love good storytelling. It is a true art form when done right. Yet the struggle with mental illness is illogical. It has no flow. It has no rhyme or reason to it. And that makes the story so hard to understand.
The people in my life sometimes ask me to explain why I did something, why something so innocuous sent me into such a dark spiral, or why I don’t just change.
Similarly, those struggling with self harm issues or suicidal thought are asked to explain why they want to die or why they do the things they do. But most often they’re asked why they don’t just stop. And the answer is hidden in a story, a dark tale that so many of us struggle to understand.
Why do some people have these struggles and not others? Where does it come from? How do we get rid of it? How does the story end?
For some, that story ends with suicide. I think it isn’t about dying so much as wanting the pain to stop. And I get that. Even though I’ve never been actively suicidal I’ve hurt so much that at times I didn’t care about being here. And how do I tell that story to the people I love?
Others get help and their story continues. I’m incredibly fortunate to be in that camp, though I still struggle with my storytelling. I struggle to tell the story to those in my life who I love, I struggle to tell the story to my therapist, and most often I struggle to tell the story to myself, failing to understand the storylines in my head. I hope one day to find out.
If you are struggling, I hope you find your story. I hope you find a way to tell it. But most of all I hope that you keep up the fight. Because as confusing as your story is with mental illness, as much as it hurts, it is a story worth continuing. You are a story worth continuing. And together, hopefully, we’ll find a way to tell our story together so that the world better understands the struggle with mental illness.
Because even though I may not fully understand it, even though I may not have the words to properly tell the story, I do know that the story of mental illness is full of strong characters who deserve to have their story continued.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.