You do not experience your mental health struggle exclusively. It affects your well-being, but it also impacts the people around you. However, the hardest part of having a mental health struggle is to get tired from it. But how did we get here?
First, you got tired living with it.
You could not simply remove that part, that source of pain from your body. You could not run away from your mental health struggle because it also runs with you.
Second, people often assumed that as you showed signs of improvement from your mental health struggle, you got better.
But when you spiraled down again into your bouts of anxieties or depression, they might tell you to move on or get over it. You might have heard phrases such as “I thought you are already done with that,” “You just overthink,” or “Don’t focus too much on your feelings, but on your potential.”
Or worse, they gradually stayed silent and withdrew for a while. You interpreted their silence as accepting you only for the good parts and rejecting you for your struggles.
In effect, you also became silent. But the truth was, you became tired of admitting that you did it again. You could not bear the shame, the thing that stopped you from asking help. But you needed more listeners during those moments.
As a consequence, they completely stopped checking on you because you have stopped asking for help. Your silence about your mental health struggle gave them a wrong signal that you are already fine.
Third, everyone has his or her problems.
They stopped checking on you because your burdens might have exhausted them. They have their own burdens and they silently shied away. Their moves are valid. They are also humans like you.
But you felt this move was selfish. Their choice to set boundaries meant rejection to you. Instead of getting hurt and making a second attempt to open up your mental health struggle, you decided to keep everything to yourself.
You did not want to feel like a burden to anyone, and the best thing to do was to keep silent. You did not burden them with your problems, and at the same time, you did not risk being invalidated.
They saw you keeping everything together. They did not get a hint of that you were just hiding. And it got worse. You silently lost battles that no one even knew. You felt shame for being vulnerable, yet you blamed and resented their “insensitivity.”
The invisible cycle of the mental health struggle paralyzed everyone.
- You experienced something that you cannot contain.
- You shared your mental health struggle.
- Some people listened to you.
- You started your healing journey.
- They saw your progress, but interpreted it as permanent.
- You experienced a “relapse.”
- They invalidated your experience.
- You felt shame to share.
- Your silence created a gap between you and other people.
- They started to live their own lives, probably with their own struggles, but you still battled with you mental health struggle.
- This experience added up to your original problem.
Now, how did we get here?
Lack of communication.
Two parties have roles to play. We need to voice out our concerns to those people who will listen to us. On the other hand, we also need to be sensitive to listen, especially to the silence of others.
We have the responsibility to say what we need from each other, but we also have the power to draw our boundaries.
Our mental health struggle becomes more complicated when we do not speak and listen well. But we also heal from it or help others heal when we take time to ask, listen, and become present.
Do not give up on yourself. Join your friend’s battle.
You do not have to struggle alone. Press on, but speak up as well. Shame shouts lies in front of you, but God whispers His love for you.
Facebook: They Pressed On