Opening Up About Mental Illness


I have been diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years but am only now beginning to understand the cause of all my struggles. My first signs of a problem began when I was in high school. I acted happy to everyone else but inside I was suffering. Thoughts of suicide filled my mind. A darkness and pain set in that is difficult to explain. I never told my parents. I thought I was a bad person for having them. I was ashamed of them. I was afraid I would disappoint my parents and others if I told them. I suffered through high school and college in silence. I was “perfect” to everyone. I got straight A’s, was Valedictorian, played sports, was a leader in my church youth group, never caused trouble, all these things. There wasn’t room for “suicidal” in all that.

The struggle continued for the first two years of college then when my husband came along it slowly faded away, until I had my children. The thoughts and feeling returned with each one and got worse with each baby. With my last two they were especially difficult, and yet, I was still so ashamed of them, I never told anyone. I kept on suffering alone. Several months after having each baby, the thoughts would mostly go away and I would be ok again.

Then we moved to a new state and left all our family and friends. My support group and stability was gone. As a result of the change, all the thoughts and dark feelings returned but it was 10 times worse. I would get the older kids to school then I would come home and turn on a movie for the youngest two. I would then lie on the couch the rest of the morning. The suicidal thoughts turned worse, much worse than anything they had ever been before. I continued to hide it from my own husband! I would have my head down on the counter trying to fight through the feelings but as soon as he would walk in the door from work I stood up and acted like nothing was wrong. However, I finally reached breaking point; I knew I couldn’t hide it any longer.  I worked up the courage to finally tell my husband.  I was so afraid to tell him, that I told his sister first and she encouraged me to tell him. When I finally did tell him I, I wrote it all down in a letter to him and sat by him while he read it. I was so worried of what he would think of me for these evil thoughts that I had. I thought for sure I would disappoint him and he would say I’m just not being righteous enough.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong, his reaction was completely opposite of what I thought it might be, he has shown nothing but love since that day. He’s been my greatest supporter and advocate. He’s never once expressed disappointment in me because of these thoughts, he understands better than I do that there is something wrong with my brain and it’s nothing I can just think more positively and change. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be around anymore if it weren’t for him.

Several months later, I decided to tell my parents what I had been going on. I was so nervous to make that call. I was their perfect daughter, and now I was coming to confess to them that I was less than perfect. I KNEW they would be so disappointed with me. Yet again, I was wrong! They still loved me and their hearts ached for me and they were so understanding and NOT disappointed in me at all.

I knew I needed a friend to lean on, so I found one I knew I could rely on, but yet again I didn’t really want to tell her about the depths of my thoughts. I was so afraid that she wouldn’t want me around anymore. I would watch her kids for her sometimes and I thought for sure she wouldn’t want someone with “those” kinds of thoughts being around her kids. Yet, again, I was proven wrong. She’s been one of my greatest supporters and didn’t judge me at all when I told her I had a mental illness.

Opening up about my illness has been a HUGE blessing for me. I really wouldn’t still be here without the support of others. I wish I had known clear back in high school that people will love me even though I have thoughts of wanting to end my life. That my friends and family won’t be disappointed in me. Our family and friends are here to lift and strengthen us, so lean on them and don’t be afraid to share with them what you are thinking and feeling, especially if your thoughts have become suicidal. We are all here to lift one another, let your family and friends lift and strengthen you.

Written by: Anonymous

This story appeared first on Real Imprints.