An Open Letter to Those With a Mental Illness

Dear Mental Illness Warrior,

                  Whether you have anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobias, or any other mental illness, I want you to know how proud I am of you. While your thoughts are controlled by negativity, stress, and panic, you are able to be strong every day. I am amazed by you. You show what strength truly is. You are not weird or crazy. You are a human being with feelings, who deserves to be loved. I understand that these feelings are not just a “teenage phase”. You are not your mental illness. You have real feelings and thoughts that can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. They are feelings that can make you question your worth and your role in this world.

                  I do have one favor to ask of you, Warrior. I am asking that you be kinder to yourself. There is such a negative stigma revolving around mental illness, and I want you to know that you are not alone by any means. How would you talk to your best friend if she broke her leg in a car accident? You would tell her that she is going to get better. You wouldn’t tell her that she is stupid for breaking her leg in the first place and having to take pain medication for it. So, if you have to take medication and/or seek counseling for your illness, do not feel embarrassed. I know that you have the capability to do great things in this world and to live a beautiful life. Go out and be the person you are meant to be.

                  Warrior, I want you to know that it gets better. You may not believe me now, but you are on this earth for a reason. You have an amazing ability. An ability to have empathy for those who also have a mental illness. You are able to understand their pain and can help end the stigma. I want you to surround yourself with what makes you happy. Try waking up earlier and going for a walk while it is still quiet and peaceful. Create as much art as possible. Indeed, your mind has forced you to feel pain and anxiety, but it can also allow you to feel creative and powerful.

                  I am so proud of all that you have done. You are fighting a difficult battle every day, and I can assure you that you are doing an amazing job, so please keep up the incredible work.

I support you, I accept you, and I am you,

-A Fellow Mental Illness Warrior