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Filed Under: Personal
The Struggles of Mental Illness: A Text Conversation

The Struggles of Mental Illness: A Text Conversation

By Michelle Lunger

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. We are here to open up the dialogue for mental health. This blog promotes healing, but it is not a major mental health resource. If you or anyone else you know is struggling we are here to provide you with the proper resources. We know, asking for help can be scary, but we would be happy to point you in the right direction. If you are nervous about reaching out to a crisis hotline and you want to learn more information feel free to reach out to us. We are here for you.

Cover image from: @werenotreallystrangers

The other day Court and I had a very candid, honest, and important text conversation about the struggles of mental illness. A REAL soul conversation… Soul talk. We want to include you in our conversation and open it up to you. We talked about the fear of losing happiness, fighting our inner demons, codependency, mental exhaustion and more. This wasn’t planned, but we thought the topics we talked about were important to share. Check in on your friends and family often because a lot of us have been struggling lately. A conversation like this really just starts with a “how are you?” It is up to you whether to be honest or not. It’s time to stop brushing this under the rug. Not being able to feel comfortable to have conversations like these is part of the stigma. Let’s open up the conversation. How are you doing, really? #MentalHealthCheck

Me (Michelle): Hi, how are you? 

Court: Not so good. My anxiety just sucks. I just don’t feel good and it feels like I have a lump in my throat.  

Me: Yeah, anxiety sucks. To have something extra to keep in check before you can be “okay” and even then it’s exhausting. 

Like, how am I supposed to have enough energy to get through the day to keep my mental health in check and get things done?

Sometimes it’s scary to be in a “good” place because I’ve lost that so many times and it takes so much work to get back to that place.

Court: Yeah. I can’t believe at a point in my life I was able to push through and enjoy life. It’s hard to enjoy and be present while going through it. 

Me: Yeah, it sucks forcing it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to smile, even that's heavy. 

Court: How have you been?

I feel like my anxiety is so crippling. I feel like I only see people talking about high functioning anxiety. I’m seriously low functioning. I cancel plans, don’t hang with people, and even don’t leave my house. 

Me: I’ve been doing alright, better than before. The weather has been helping. It's just been so hard to be stuck in the house, it’s suffocating. Literally makes me feel stuck. If I just sit there in the sun and listen to music and soak up the sun it helps. 

I’ve been there before though, I used to be scared to go anywhere and it would get so lonely. I would be scared I wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything. Or be as fun or energetic or actually feeling like I had fun without overthinking. But crippling anxiety doesn’t last forever so that’s good. There is a way out, but it’s a lot of work and a lot of therapy. I wish it was easy for it to go away. Like just with medication alone. 

It’s like we were dealt with these mental illness cards and had to go through all that terrible stuff without it being our fault- we have to face it and work through that. Like that's heavy, why even try?... 

It’s scary to think of happiness because to get there you have to get through the pain and go back there when we already felt it. I grab it and get attached to it then when it’s gone I crawl back into the pit until it happens again. 

I’m in the process of working through therapy, trauma work and my therapy group, but I know it’s hard to be patient but that's all we can do. 

Court: When I wasn’t happy in 2012-2013, I didn't even know what I was going through and missed my happiness. I wasn’t scared of losing it just because that was the first time I lost it. I mean it fucking sucks when you get it back and even though you still go through stuff, you’re like genuinely happy and feel so good. You feel so proud of yourself but then you lose it and end up back where you were.

I feel like I’m never safe with my anxiety. I can’t imagine going back to the place I was in college when I was able to push through and do things. I still had anxiety, but I was not afraid to push through and enjoy parts of my life. Now I am just living but that’s it. Not even enjoying my life at all. Even though I have so much to be grateful for. I can’t even enjoy it because I am so consumed by my anxiety. 

Me: I felt that so much. That’s why it’s easier to stay stuck and not even try sometimes because I don’t want to deal with the grief. Self sabotage is sadly my worst best friend and enemy. But the honest reason I do that is because I don’t feel like I deserve it or even should try to, but that’s just lies. 

We need to try to remember when happiness comes like that true bliss that we can’t be scared. Easier said than done, but also accept that this stupid disease does not have a fucking cure! But that’s life. It’s not fair but there is a way to manage. 

Court: Why do we gotta be like this? 

Me: Sometimes I literally need to yell “fuck you” out loud and punch my pillow because I get so angry that there is so much about this illness that is out of my control. I imagine myself not caring and destroying all my shit that’s in sight. 

Court: I’m scared to be alone and I’ve been codependent with Linds. 

Me: I’ve been codependent my whole life on my mom. It’s been so hard to break out of that because I used to have her as a crutch. I am still learning to be independent. It’s definitely gotten better but I just feel like I’m stupid because I have to relearn to do things that people already grew up knowing or learned! I felt so far behind. Like I am a baby and everyone is grown. 

Court: I was able to be independent in college because I had no choice, but went backwards. It’s so hard because you compare yourself to others and then you throw yourself a pity party. Because you feel like your mental health has brought you back like 1,000 steps. 

Me: I know, but I wasn’t ready for that push in college. I was like wtf is this? If I don’t know how to do my laundry, how can I know how to handle my life? But it sucks sometimes you need to reteach yourself again because of the setbacks. 

Court: I can’t do it. I feel like I can’t do it. I’m not like other people.

Me: Alone doesn’t alway mean lonely. No one is the same. But I feel that. 

Court: I know, but I just want to enjoy my life most of the time and not be in and out. 

Me: You can’t learn till you try. 

Court: Obviously like everyone goes through rough patches, but I feel like I go through them so often and I’m not good at dealing with them and being ok. Like a lot of people still push through life. 

Me: I wish it was easier to enjoy life, for it to just naturally happen. I always have to be like you’re ok… you’re ok. Don’t worry meanwhile I’m freaking the fuck out! But all in my head.

Court: So many amazing things have happened to me and I am still not able to enjoy it. Even if you tell yourself you're ok you still don’t feel ok because my brain doesn’t even believe it. 

Me: Yes! It sucks. But you literally just have to wait for that to come back. You can do everything in the world to try but that feeling just needs to come back. 

Court: Why does this have to be forever? I wish we could be cured and not have to worry. I don’t think people having a mental illness is bad, I just wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And I’m not going to judge someone, but I 100% wish it could be cured.

Me: How do we undo something that we have been dealing with for our whole life? 

Court: I wish we didn’t have to fight these battles in our heads. It's just something we have to navigate forever and learn how to cope with.

Me: That’s exactly why I can’t enjoy a lot of things and I’m scared to be around people!! Because I literally can’t enjoy myself because I am so in my head like gtfo. I want people to feel like I am enjoying myself and maybe if they believe it that’s good enough for me. 

But, I literally have to give myself a reality check before I hang out with my friends. Like did I sleep enough last night? Nope I didn’t, now I’m too tired. I guess I’m not going. Did I take a nap today? Nope now I have no energy. I guess I’m not going. Did I get to finish this or that? Nope I’m not going. Until the list is so big and I’m like well I guess I’m not going anywhere because I have to do all this to lower my anxiety and to feel at least ok. But why is that so hard? All this shit I have to do to be “normal.” Some people are so lucky they don’t have to deal with that dilemma. That consistent back and forth battle and are able to just go on day by day. But that is every fucking day. No wonder I literally am tired all the time and have no energy. Having a mental illness is DRAINING. 

Court: I 100% get that. Like if I didn’t eat enough today then I can’t because I’ll probably pass out and maybe even die. Or If I didn’t get enough sleep… I can’t go out with my friends because I’ll be exhausted and won’t feel good. 

Yeah, I fucking feel you. Like if I had plans at 4pm one day with my friends I wouldn’t be able to do anything at all before it. Like nope I have plans at 4 so I can’t run errands. 

Me: Exactly. I can only pick one thing each day to give my energy to. Because I literally give it all and have nothing left. 

Court: I think I’m not capable of having a jam packed day. I used to be scared to go on vacation for those reasons. But I was able to push through it on vacations.

Me: Vacations were the only thing that saved me. Because I didn’t have to deal with any of it there and I could leave it behind. Or at least mostly…

Court: Ugh, I wish these things were easier because we have one life and I want to enjoy it and experience all these fun things. But I ruin it for myself because I’m never in the moment enjoying anything fully. I’m always thinking. 

Me: Then dealing with it when I get back post vacation depression.

Court: Yep. Coming down from a high, that feeling can be very low. 

Me: It’s astronaut syndrome. Reaching the moon and being like what next? Literally made it to the moon how can I ever reach it again? 

Court: I am so jealous of people who don’t deal with mental health issues. I know that everyone goes through shit. But not having a mental illness makes going through that hard stuff way easier. I don’t know, maybe that’s selfish of me to say. 

Me: This shit is different. Because we have normal shit and then this on top of it. So… when are we going to be left alone?

Court: I feel like never. Even when I was in a really good place, I still wasn’t completely left alone. I was just able to cope with it much better and not let it get to me as much. 

Me: That’s why we have to deal with it first and then that’s exhausting so sometimes we only get to do that or just the thought of that is exhausting. But it's so much easier when that voice isn’t so loud. Just I guess I have to accept that that sneaky demon is always gonna be there. 

Court: Always. That little motherfucker. 

Me: But remember that he reminds me that I care and that’s why I think that. Maybe a little too much… like way too much but at least we care. 

Court: Yeah, true. The struggle is so so so real. 

Me: I’m glad I’m not alone though. Baby steps, that’s how we are going to get there. And we can be there for each other. 

Court: I feel like I’m not good at being there for people. I can be when I’m in a bad place, but I feel like I’m not that good at it. But yes, I’m glad I’m not alone too. 

Me: For the good and the bad, the ups and downs we gotta RIDE THE WAVE. It’s ok though I am glad we are talking about it though and letting it out. 

Court: Yeah, I’m sorry I wish I could be better. 

Me: It’s ok maybe you just need an extra push until one day you will be that push. For yourself too, most importantly. 

Court: I hope so.