Mental illness affects millions of people around the world. In fact, many of these individuals have no idea what’ s really wrong with them, while another percentage know and are just un-medicated. The sad truth is that a small portion of the mentally ill is actually getting therapy, while the rest of us stumble through life is a self-destructive haze.

I’m here to recount my personal experience with my mental illness. I have been diagnosed, but still don’t have the right dosage of medication and struggle with physical illnesses as well. Sometimes, these combined make me want to give up on life…but I haven’t so far.

When my reserves break down

Few people understand what it’s like when a breakdown occurs. Now, I don’t mean the routine symptoms of mental illness: anxiety, depression, and mania. No, I’m sure most people have a slight idea about these effects. What I want to share is what really happens when things are just too much to take. Here are a few “morning after” episodes that explain just how crippling mental illness can be.

Too much information is like overheating

Sometimes, when we think we have a handle on our moods, along comes an influx of information. To someone who does not suffer from mental illness, this information is just normal words, plans, and ideas that need to be conveyed. To those who suffer from things such as anxiety, a high volume of information can cause irritability and frustration.

Here’s what happens inside the brain: We panic, trying to sort the information into files that make sense to us. We question motives, we need details and we automatically start to sweat, especially if the plans and ideas include large groups of people, of which makes us extremely nervous. If we are jealous types, we start to question, in our mind, who will be on the occasion, who will be included in plans and if the idea revolves around someone we don’t trust.

The aftermath of too much information includes acting completely irrational. But to us, we are simply trying to keep our heads above water while preparing for potential devastation. And so you ask, “All this anger and hostility over making plans to go out tomorrow?” Yes, it’s really that serious.

Grief is on another level

For mentally healthy individuals, grieving the loss of a loved one is hard. For those who suffer from disorders such as depression, grief can be on a completely different level. As life is difficult, so much more is death. The most recent loved one that I lost was my aunt, she was like a mother to me. Upon losing her, I drifted backward in my healing process.

The morning after her death, I could not eat. I had no desire to communicate nor leave a certain area of my home. I was curled in fetal position on my living room couch, struggling to stay away from the memories of what happened the night before. To add insult to injury, I was holding my aunt when she died. The image is burned into my brain even now, two years later.

A breakdown after the death of a loved one is like experiencing a portion of death for yourself. For most people, the morning after death consists of crying and talking to others about the loss, even making some preparations for burial. For the mentally ill, the morning after means surviving the devastation ordeal and attempting to continue a life we know has more death awaiting in the future. It’s depressing, but it’s the truth of having a breakdown.

There is hope

Despite these drastic emotions and obstacles, those who suffer from mental illness also have heightened abilities to create and relate to others. While suffering from random breakdowns, these individuals can discover new things about how they think and their own motivations.

We will not give up, and hopefully, we will find new ways to cope and to heal. Until then, we will keep on surviving and moving past what was lost yesterday, in anticipation of what’s to come tomorrow.


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Copyright: Dream Humanity