"How does having a mental illness feel?" my friend asked me one day. I started to answer her then I stopped, not able to find the words. I knew very well what it was like to be mentally ill, for I have been mentally ill for quite a while now, but I wasn't able to explain to her what it felt like. I've always had this problem. I'm horrible at explaining myself so it is really a torture trying to relate to people what is going on in my already troubled mind. I could give my friend the name of what I have so she could look it up herself, but then she would only get the doctor's views, the overview from a medical standpoint. All of it may be true, but that's not what it FEELS like. Depression isn't conveyed in by reading: "A brain disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities" and suicidal thoughts can't be readily understood by telling someone that you want to or have tried to die. All the easy ways of communicating what I was going through were not enough, so that is why I put this together. These are stories not meant to explain what a mental illness is, but rather how a mental illness feels. I know what I've written isn't adequate, but it's a start at least. I realize that there are many differences in mental illnesses and I have only experienced my own, so what I have written by no means covers it all or is relatable to every person. I have asked several of my friends who also struggle with mental illnesses to give me their input, and with all our heads put together we deemed this good enough to start with. Maybe this will serve as a prompt for you to write your own better stories, if so...I'm content with that result. I am very happy with anything that will bring about even the smallest bit of understanding to this question "How does a mental illness feel?" and I hope to provide some encouragement for others who struggle with mental illness. You are not alone, and you are not hopeless. Stay strong!
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