Mental illness, despite being spoken about more now than ever before, still comes with an aura of taboo. A stigma. A sense of shame or guilt, quilted by misunderstanding and miscommunication; jeopardising the sufferer and their ability to ever get better, or at least see the light and feel the hope to make the right steps and seek help either through themselves or through others. What people fail to recognise is how much mental illness, in all its colours and facets, can affect someone…
Mental illnesses are prismatic. There’s hundreds. And they each come with their own crayon box of symptoms - and not all of them pretty. But the reality is that the more we try to stop using one colour of the paint palette, the more poignant it will become. Imagine a watercolour palette, and use every colour in the palette except the black one. All the other bright, happy, wonderful colours are going to slowly get watered down until the pan is empty, leaving you only with the black one remaining. Ignoring it won’t make it magically disappear. If anything, it’s going to make it bolder and brasher. So you have to be braver and use it. Water it down, mix it with the other colours, shadow and highlight the events of your life with it… because accepting that this darkness is present is the first step to finding balance in yourself. And with others.
You don’t have to bully yourself for being too tired to get out of bed one day. Accept it. Hold that crayon. But recognise that in order to paint a picture, you’re going to have to use other tools in the box. So tomorrow, let go of the charcoal, and pick up some glitter, even if only the day after that, the charcoal returns. Remind yourself to use that tube of golden sunshine yellow paint on top of that black smudge on the canvas of yesterday, even if it doesn’t fully mask it: you’re trying.
Making something is always a work in progress. And so are you. And guess what honey:
That’s perfectly okay.
And you’re going to be okay.