That post really hit me hard. I teared up a bit, and it just made me think of how much guilt you carry with a mental illness. I feel so guilty all the time. I fear I'm using my anxiety as an excuse for not trying hard enough, that it's not really as bad as I think, that if I just pushed myself harder I could manage to hold down a job and be independent and all that crap. I feel like such a burden, being financially and emotionally dependent on my family. I feel like I should be able to do better.
It's become a regular thing for me to remind myself of all the ways that anxiety affects me, Today my back and shoulders hurt. My shoulders are always hunching up and forwards in lines of fear and unhappiness. When I sit "at rest" (because you never quite rest when you're anxious), my hands curl up into fists. My knees hurt too, because when I wasn't outside the house today, I was sitting with them pulled up under my chin, shoulders forward, hands balled, as small an Idzie ball as I could present to the world. I felt twitchy much of the day, borderline panicky, and had to keep reminding myself to take deep, deliberate breaths so I didn't start hyperventilating.
Anxiety is a constant in my life, it seeps into everything I do. Yet even knowing that intellectually, I find myself completely dismissing that, dismissing what I experience, again and again and again. I guess I've internalized that mental illness isn't a "real" illness, and that if I just buck up and stop being a wuss, I can manage things! Like a normal person!
That, plus I often have trouble liking and caring enough about myself to believe the best about me, which would be that I honestly can't help anxiety just by trying harder to not be anxious, and that I'm not being a horrible leech by being supported by others. If I'm to treat myself fairly, I have to realize that this isn't my fault, and I don't deserve the shame and guilt and self-loathing I feel.
Some days are better than others. But all days I both hate the burden I feel I am, and have to remind myself that I am ill, and that I am worthy of kindness. Every day.
That's what mental illness, and the stigma against it, does. It makes you doubt the seriousness and reality of your own experience, makes you doubt your worth. And platitudes like "it gets better!" or horrible advice like "picture yourself somewhere you love. It will be okay!" are more than a little insulting. I'm far from convinced #BellLetsTalk does any actual good. All I'm seeing is further proof that people without a mental illness really just don't get it.