If you look at me, I look like an average 27 year old, I’m engaged, I do things that you would normally expect. If you look at me closely, you can see me fidget, my eyes flickering, I’m sweating, I look nervous. If you could look through my eyes you would see I don’t feel like an average 27 year old, I feel like I don’t belong in my own body, I feel life has thrown me a huge curve ball that I can’t ditch.
You see, I suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and recently diagnosed with PTSD. I also have an under active thyroid, acid reflex, BPD, and insomnia. That is a lot under a belt of a young woman; I haven’t been able to work in 6 years due to my mental illness. I’ve suffered from panic attacks and depression since I was little but went undiagnosed until 2010, in May of this year my city Fort McMurray burnt, I lost my home, I lost everything. I was diagnosed with PTSD in July of 2016.
Many people don’t see me as I feel, they don’t understand. I try and explain but most times I get confused looks or an apologetic smile. There are people who I thought I could count on have now abandoned me, think my mental illness is nothing but ‘in my head’ and I should be able to live a normal life. It’s because if you look at me, you don’t see an illness, you just see me. Someone who can keep a conversation if I try, go to places if my day is ok, someone who is always there for people regardless and try to help people as much as I can.
The thing is, you don’t see the amount of pills I have to take everyday just get through that day, you don’t see my mind turning a million miles a minute going through every scenario when you ask me to go to the mall because I’m scared my anxiety and panic attacks will show up. If you look at me, really look at me and get to know me you know easy decisions are big decisions for me to make. I can’t just get up and go out to a market, or go out for a walk, my mental illness keeps me prisoner of most things. With a lot of help in the past 6 years I can do small stores now. That is a big achievement and while most people think nothing of going to your local drug store that was and sometimes still is a huge thing for me.
But if you look at me, you won’t see all of this, you’ll see me and how I appear on the outside, but if you know me and look at me you will see I’m trying to battle my mental illness, that I do it every day multiple times through out the day, and I am not just my illness, I am a fighter.