To this day I’ve always labelled my state of mental health as having “mental health issues” rather than using the term “mental illness”. But caught up in amongst the stress from school and a typical adolescent lifestyle, sometimes I question whether I really do have a mental illness or just a full-blown severe case of teen angst. Because sometimes, it does get REALLY BAD.
I’ll go to huge measures just to avoid potential embarrassment. I’ll overthink situations and cry every night for a week straight stressing over issues that I’ve complicated in my own mind. I can’t handle criticism well and even if it is meant to be positive, I’ll somehow twist it into something offensive and berating. Whenever I’m rewarded or receive praise, I will shy away and cry because I feel underserving. I get triggered by the slightest words and become so agitated to a point where I start talking to myself, frantically pacing around my room and slapping myself across the face in an attempt to “find my marbles.” I can be laughing one moment and sobbing on my bed the next. I isolate myself from people thinking that they will be “better off without me”. While not showing it physically, I mentally cling to people in order to find happiness and have an insane fear of abandonment from those I hold dear. I have the tendency to love people but dislike them at random moments. I have a really bizarre insight on life where I value happiness and spreading that same happiness to others, yet I’m not afraid of the prospect of death. Often I have two personalities: one I show in public, the other only comes out when I’m alone or with people I really trust— and these two are starkly different.
If all those aren’t reasons to question myself, I have no idea what else would be.
I’ll be an adult this year. Crazy huh? For the past few years since all my issues have suddenly skyrocketed in intensity, I’ve always avoided the prospect of genuinely having a mental illness. Usually I’ll put these thoughts down to simply wanting attention, or trying to find a solution to the mess inside my head. A way to organise my thoughts and make myself seem less insane. I’d assumed everything was just a typical case of teen angst and I would eventually get over it with time. But as the years are passing by, every issue seems to be multiplying tenfold and I’m beginning to have doubts.
Growing up in an Asian household, the stigma towards mental illnesses is different to that of Westerners. Feelings like the ones I described above are concluded as the person being weak, and simply not being able “to deal” with things. You’re expected to bounce back from tough situations and parents always assume you’re resilient. Often it’s hard to be understood and I’m left feeling extremely alone. I’m fortunate enough that I’ve grown up in a Western country, so my parents (or should I say parenT, because my dad doesn’t know anything) and sibling are a little more considerate and understanding. But still, it’s not the same. Throughout this entire mental roller coaster they’ve never mentioned anything about seeing a therapist, psychologist, or GP. Not even my school councillor. They’d assume I’d get over it with time. The only thing they did was encourage me to read the Bible more often and patch the holes regarding my beliefs as a Christian and relationship with God. Never have I once seen them treat me like my condition was serious. They blamed my self harming habits on the influence on social media and encouraged me to quit my blogging, saying it was no good. Not once did they ever ask me if I wanted genuine, professional help.
I’ve basically shut myself off from my whole family. I don’t tell them anything. I always appear happy and typical “moody me”. I don’t trust them either. They don’t seem to care too much. They’ll tease me over lazy habits, when it’s actually because I’m scared of getting criticised and embarrassed. They don’t understand, and I couldn’t care less anymore.
It’s gotten to a point where I question whether it’s even valid to want a proper, professional diagnosis. I know that for as long as I’m stuck with my family, that will never happen. But part of me wants that physical reassurance; the assurance that I haven’t been making things up in my own mind and that I’m actually considered sick. It’s almost as if I’m trying to find a legitimate reason to the way I act and feel, because my whole life is one huge, clueless merry-go-round.
My future seems bleak. Very often I question my ambitions and second-guess myself. Waking to every new day is to me another day of overthinking and coping with criticism that never existed in the first place. I want to disappear but at the same time there is so much to live for.
I’m signing off with my real name today. I’m in the mood for getting a bit personal and it’s not like stalkers are going to abduct me just from finding my first name (my initial thoughts when starting this blog).
So wherever you are in this world, have a good day/evening.
♥ Abbey xxx