I just wanted to give everyone a fair warning that this blog is going to be straight up honest and blunt.
I have a mental illness. I am not shy about sharing it because I hope that it will help others be brave enough to share or to get the help and support they need.
In case you are wondering, this is what I have: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I basically am like a buffet of issues- a little of this and a little of that. It’s like going to a Chinese buffet that has pizza and chicken nuggets.
Either way, I have discovered something about mental illness that made me so angry that I can’t be silent anymore. I was asked today why I am on intermittent FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).
I am on FMLA because of my PTSD which was a direct result of an active shooter drill that one of the high schools did where I used to work. The school I worked at brought in three men with assault rifles, shot up the school with blanks and they had people banging on the door screaming to let them in because the ‘shooter had a gun and we are going to fucking die.’
So yeah, getting up and going to work is hard because I am going to a place that doesn’t feel safe and although feelings can feel real, they are usually not true. And as much as my mind understands that, my PTSD and Trauma brain does not.
When I was questioned about it today, I was open and honest. I mean I write a blog for God’s sake. But then this person, who is extremely kind but I feel like doesn’t realize how they come off, said that they ‘understand people that are on FMLA because they need medical treatment but they…
And that’s when it hit me. I told this person that just because this other persons pain is physical and can be seen, doesn’t mean that my disability doesn’t exist because it can’t be seen.
And that’s when I realized, in order for people to believe that you are in fact sick, you have to have physical problems. So it makes me sad but I believe the only way people will know that I suffer and that I am sick is if I self-harm and develop physical scars or if I just can’t put up with life anymore and decide to kill myself.
So do all of us who have mental illness a favor and believe that we are suffering. Believe that we are hurting. Believe that we are scared. Believe that we are triggered. Believe us when we say that we are trying to get better.
We don’t ask someone with cancer to show the results of the tests that changed their lives forever. You don’t ask a diabetic to show their pricked finger or their empty needles. You don’t ask a person in a wheelchair to walk just to be sure that they would fall. Why is mental illness different? I am fighting battles that you will never know anything about and for that I am brave. For that, we are all brave.
Until next time,
If you are suicidal and need someone to talk to, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).