*Trigger Warning*

When I think about my ongoing battle with mental illness I feel exhausted. It's exhausting every day to try and "feel better." To feel "normal." By the end of the day I'm so tired all I want is to sleep. I'm tired from the trying. I'm tired from analyzing every little mistake as it quickly snowballs into being the reason I lose my family or my job or my friends or my boyfriend. I'm tired of worrying all the time. I'm tired of not being able to respond back to text messages or phone calls from friends because I'm I don't want them to know. I don't know what to say. I'm tired of not feeling good enough; a good enough friend, girlfriend, dog owner, teacher. The list goes on and on.

I want to feel nothing. I want to feel something. I'm so tired of feeling everything. But I'm so tired of feeling nothing. I'm so messed up from the too much feeling and the not feeling enough that I can only go through the motions. I'm not a real person. ARE YOU LISTENING? I'm. Not. A. Real. Person. I don't who or what I am. I don't feel like I'm actually alive. I'm a ghost fading from a reality that I'm not even sure actually exists.

I'm tired from the effort it takes me to get out of bed in the morning and then to stay out of bed to do what needs to be done. Sometimes I'm short of breath just from simply walking to get something from my car and back. I'm tired of making myself eat. I'm tired of making myself shower. I'm tired of not being able to remember things because the new meds I'm on haven't leveled out yet. I feel exhausted when I think about the fact that I will struggle with this every single day, in some way, for the rest of my life because there is no cure. There is no "quick fix." There is no blood test that can be done to prove it because it's in my brain.

I struggle. I struggle because I'm so tired of trying to explain to people why I'm still depressed when other people have more than I do. I struggle because I'm so tired of trying to explain to people that I physically can't make myself get out of bed. I struggle because I'm so tired of trying to explain to people that yes, I do know I finally have everything I've ever wanted and no, I don't want to lose it either.

I have difficulty being happy and staying that way. I have difficulty being happy because I don't know how to be. I don't know how to be happy when it's so foreign to me. My depression is what I know. It's a comfort for me in a backwards and messed up way.

When everything is going great I'm constantly preparing for the drop. I'm constantly preparing for the spiral down. I know that it's right around the corner so I worry about it constantly, waiting for it to sneak up on me while I'm sleeping or jump out around the corner at school in the middle of the day. I don't know when it's going to happen but I know it's there, waiting for me.

So I can't sleep at night. I'm so exhausted in every way a person can be but I can't sleep. I can't sleep because all I can think about is all the ways I can possibly ruin my life. I can't sleep because I can't sleep and I'm mad at myself because I can't sleep. And then when I can sleep my dreams make me just as tired. I wake myself up screaming or crying. Bruises on my hands and arms from lashing out at my bedside table while I "get some rest."

Yes, I know there are people out there who have it worse than me and that's what makes it harder. Why am I like this when there are other people out there who have it so much worse than me? Why can't I just be happy? And I hate myself more because of that.

Therapy helps. Prescriptions help. Until they don't. They help until one day I wake up and I can't do it. Because there aren't pain pills for the mind. There's nothing they can give me, or maybe they just don't want to give me, that can quiet my mind.

It's all too much. The thought of going outside terrifies me. I think maybe once I'm out and about in the world I will maybe feel a little better. But as I get out of bed and walk towards the door my heart starts beating faster. Everything starts to move too fast but also too slow. I feel weak. I can't do it.

You've heard about the depression. The anxiety. But what about the bipolar?

When I was diagnosed as bipolar II, I understood. It was a relief. The fits of rage I had experienced were now caused by something. The times that I felt too much. The times I felt nothing at all. The times where I would be happy-go-lucky one moment and crying or screaming the next day with no idea as to why. That was the bipolar.

"We have concluded that you are suffering from bipolar II. It's not like bipolar I because you get to experience the extreme lows but never really the mania. No worries though! There's a prescription for that!"

Thus begins the cycle of medication. Of nausea. Of not feeling like myself. Of finding the right medication which means figuring out the wrong ones. And finally hopefully finding one before I forget what it's like to actually feel like myself again.

I'm still figuring it out.

Reality is distorted. I don't know if the things I'm hearing and seeing actually exist. Where are my good memories? Where are my memories at all? Everything is fuzzy. I can't remember if something happened Tuesday night. Or was it Monday afternoon? Did it even happen at all? What part is a dream or a fantasy? Maybe none of it's real. 

I feel as if it can't be real. That my life is like this. That I am like this. I'm constantly hoping it's all a bad dream. If I pinch myself will I wake up? But that doesn't work. So I get the razor blade. And I hope that it will wake me up. I hope it will somehow stop the spinning and tumbling and ground me to a world that quickly becomes more fictional. Sometimes it works. Lately it doesn't work and I'm terrified. What happens when none of it no longer works? What happens when I'm too far gone? I'm on a different planet. I'm detached from this life and I can't decide if I want to speed it up, slow it down, rewind or fast forward it. 

Maybe a freeze frame would be the best. 

There are days where I just want to give up. I want to stop taking medicine. I want to stop seeing the pharmacist at the Walgreens multiple times a month to pick up various prescriptions. I want to stop seeing a psychiatrist. I want to stop paying for a psychiatrist out of pocket because I haven't met my deductible yet according to my insurance. I want to stop seeing a therapist. I want to stop making excuses for why I have to leave school early because it's the only time my therapist can see me. 

I want "I'm sick" to mean my brain is sick instead of the flu. I want people to stop using the term "I'm so depressed" or "I'm feeling so bipolar" as ways to describe their current mood. Because it diminishes what I'm struggling with. It makes it seem not as hard. That it's just a passing phase or feeling. That it's something that can be used to flippantly. 

I want so many things that can't happen. My brain is never not going to be sick. I don't know if there will ever come a time when I'm "well" enough to not have a pill organizer or to see a therapist. And it's been hard. And it still is hard. Every single day I have to make a decision – to live or to end it all. Sometimes I wake up afraid because I am alive. I want people to know it has nothing to do with them. It has nothing to do with my life. It's all to do with something I can't control – chemicals. 

But every day I make the decision to live. Sometimes I can't get out of bed but I'm still alive. There are days when it's harder than others. There are days when it's easier than others. I make the decision because of the people who depend on me – the others. 

Because there are people in my life who do understand. There are people out there in this world who do understand. Who are going through the exact same things as me. And that makes it easier. I know there are people who are just as exhausted as I am for the same reasons that I am, so I keep going for them and because of them. I live for the ones out there just like me who just keep bleeding instead of putting a band aid on like other people. I live to be there for them the way that they are there for me.

Republished from NAMI.org.