Dear fellow mental illness survivor

Dear fellow mental illness survivor,

I hope today is a good day for you. But if it isn’t, then I hope that maybe my letter to you will create a break in the thick clouds and allow some sun to shine through.

It’s hard being ill in a world that is so bent on being happy. It’s hard having to force yourself to smile when you just want to cry because they wouldn’t understand. I don’t know about you but people always leave when I show how deep the sadness runs. So I cover up my scars and hide my brokenness because that’s what they seem to expect.

But why should we be ashamed of being ill? Because it’s in our mind so no one can see it? Why can’t we be proud of our illness? We’re stuck with it forever anyways, so we may as well learn to accept it and love it, much like we learned (or are learning) to love ourselves.

As I grew older, I learned to separate myself from the illness. I learned to tell the difference between me and it. Somehow, that made it so much easier. I learned to ignore it, to tell it to shut up while I laughed, lived and loved. I know when I’m being anxious so I’m able to work through it. I know when it’s me or the depression talking. They aren’t in control anymore…I am. I hope it’s the same for you, or that it will be, one day.

If you feel even a little bit like I do, I hope you can look within yourself and find that spark of hope, love or strength. I hope you hold onto it like your life depends on it, because it does. I wish you all the happiness that your illness will let you feel. One day, you will beat the demons that live inside you and you will be so proud of yourself. Please find the strength to hold on until that moment and you’ll see that every sweat and tear of this battle was worth it.

“With every passing day it gets harder to tell

Where the demon stops and where you begin

But I promise you this isn’t how it ends”

–Beth Crowley “How it Ends”


From a fellow mental illness survivor