Jul 15, 2020
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
I thought the most difficult part about having a mental illness would be telling people I had a mental illness. I was wrong. The hardest part is overthinking, doubting, and self-hating my way through situations and relationships after the fact. Because while they know the mental illness is there, I still feel the need now more then ever to frantically keep it at ease.
It was my identifier.
I feel the pressure that stigma is my battle, and my battle alone, to conquer. Because once the truth came out, I felt as if my mental health became associated with who I was. It was my identifier. I felt the excessive need to prove that I’m still me, while desperately trying not to be.
I often find myself uncontrollably spiraling into uncertainty, over-analyzing issues that exist, and creating ones that don’t. The truth is that there is nothing logical about these anxious thoughts, but that doesn’t make them any less real. All those “what if” scenarios that never came to be are not enough to fight off all the ones that are yet to come.
My anxiety will have me doubting people’s intentions and their honesty, because I can’t help but feel that I’ve done something wrong, that I’m not enough. It seems impossible to accept who you are when faced with the constant threat that you will be rejected by everyone.
And it’s even harder when your internal battle causes you to reject yourself.
There is no greater pain than the worry that I am ruining my friendships and relationships by pushing people away due to my mental illness. It feels like I am suffocating on this fear that I am a burden and constant nuisance. That people would have an easier and happier time if I just disappeared. Even the most patient people can only take so much. It’s as if I’m not deserving of love, and I desperately hold on to people to cling to the hope that I am worthy. And to hold on, I apologize. I over apologize.
I over apologize.
It’s that instinct every time negative thoughts enter my mind: “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry when I can’t hang out with friends out of fear of leaving my house.
I’m sorry for not always being present at home or at work.
I’m sorry for overthinking and feeling overwhelmed.
I’m sorry for trying too hard.
I’m sorry for pulling away out of fear I’m being too annoying.
But most importantly, I’m sorry that I had showed this dark side of myself. That I couldn’t be better.
I’ve apologized so much that I often feel like I am apologizing for my existence as a whole. And apologizing only makes me feel more guilty for being myself.
It’s a vicious wave of negativity I couldn’t break free from.
I can still be that for others.
I began to realize I was apologizing for things that hadn’t even crossed anyone’s mind. That the people who did in fact love me never needed the apologies I was giving. I began to understand that not everyone would leave. Not everyone would see my hardships as weakness. That even if I am not always happy or feeling strong, that I can still be that for others.
Because I am not my depression, I am not my anxiety and I am not my OCD. While I do have these things, there is so much more to who I am as a person. Constantly apologizing for who I am actually made me forget everything else about me. I had become the thing I hated, and that was letting mental illness define me. While I do still suffer, I am not always depressed, always anxious or always having obsessive thoughts. I want people to see all of who I am, without having to hide the parts that don’t fit into someone else’s ideal.
I don’t want and can’t further apologize for who I am, for what I’ve experienced, and for the things I can’t control. And while this applies to the people in my life, this is mainly a message to myself. I don’t want to have to feel the need to forgive myself everyday because I feel or am different.
The only person I ever needed to apologize to was myself. For being harder on myself then I needed to be, and for thinking so little of my impact on others that I could easily be tossed away. But most importantly, for being sorry that it took me this long to appreciate all I had overcome and accomplished throughout this journey. I’m far from loving myself, but I have accepted who I am.
So yes, mental illness is a part of my life and might always be. But the truth is I’m not sorry anymore, and I shouldn’t have to be.