PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY ME (MEL BONTHUYS) FOR 'THIS IS MY BRAVE' AND APPEARED ON THEIR SITE ON 8 DECEMBER 2017
Mental illness is a compulsive liar!
It never shuts up, and seems to thrive on making a person feel as hopeless and worthless as they possibly can, and quite frankly, you don't need the added 'voice' of mental illness screaming atrocities at you when you are already struggling so much with constant mental pain and added physical symptoms.
Of course it doesn't help that there is an awful stigma associated with mental illness, and when a person is in the frame of mind that they are in with mental illness, it can be extremely hard to break free from the constant lies that you are hearing - and believing not only inside your head but in and around in society as well.
As someone who has suffered with severe anxiety and panic disorder, I am going to outline some common ways that mental illness, in particular, anxiety, lies to you.
1) You are crazy and insane and they going to lock you away in a mental institution!
The voice of my anxiety screamed this at me every single day, to the point whereby I had started to conjure up images of myself in a mental hospital, in seclusion, secured in a strait jacket!
The sad thing is for a while, I really did believe this little lie, and if you are believing it as well, please don't. With all the campaigns and awareness that is being created for mental illness, it is been proven that many people struggle with mental illness, and it by no means, means that you are insane!
One in four people struggle with mental illness at some point in their life, and this figure makes us see just how common it really is.
Try to think about it logically - you are not a criminal and it isn't a crime to suffer with mental illness!
2) You are going to feel like this for the rest of your life!
Without a doubt one of the most difficult of lies to brush off. Believe me, I completely understand how believable this lie is!
But please, if me saying this to you is the only thing you have right now, please take it from me - someone who had anxiety disorder so severe that I cannot even put it into words. Please believe me when I say you to that you can and you will get better.
There are such a wide variety of treatments available, and there is one out there waiting for you! Trust me - you do not have to live like this!
3) You are worthless and will never amount to anything in life!
Ouch! This lie made me cry at times, because I truly believed it!
However, I can stick my tongue out at my anxiety disorder and say 'You lied to me' because I have achieved so much! I am the happiest I've ever been in my life. I work for myself, I get to help others with their anxiety, I wrote and published my book, I'm happily married and I love life - if that doesn't equal success and worth then I don't know what does!
One of the first rules of recovery is to believe that you deserve to feel good again - and you do!
You deserve all the happiness and prosperity that life wants to give you!
Each person is on this earth for a reason, and you must believe that!
4) Everyone you love will cut you out their life!
While I cannot guarantee that everyone in your life will understand, I can tell you that you most definitely will not be alone because if someone loves and cares for you, they will want to help you and support you through this. Yes, there are those people who choose to be very ignorant on the subject of mental health, and perhaps will run for the nearest exit door, but know it's probably for the better, as people who are recovering from mental illness need strong support structures.
My boyfriend at the time is now my husband, and didn't let my anxiety disorder get in the way! The right people will love you for who you are, and they won't let you go through this alone, and the people that do cut you out are extremely ignorant and misinformed and they don't deserve to have your friendship. Always remember that mental illness does not define you as a person.
If you are one of those people who doesn't have anyone to turn to, please phone one of the many helplines or join up a support group. You are never alone in your struggle - ever!!!!
5) Your fears are real and will come true!
Speaking purely from an anxiety sufferers point of view here, I can say that anxiety disorders are centered around either irrationality or not knowing what you are anxious or fearful about.
This is tough because your fears, whether they are unknown or highly irrational are very real to you, and no one really understands what it feels like to fear something so unrealistic that it's laughable! It's even worse if you are one of those anxiety sufferers who doesn't even know what they are even fearful about.
For me, the way I dealt with my irrational fears was in two ways: firstly, I didn't expose myself directly to anything that would trigger the fear off, such as watching movies that portrayed my fear. Secondly, a good way to challenge fears in general is to tell yourself the worst possible scenario that could happen but make it as completely ridiculous as you can.
Say for example you have a fear of a dog biting you.
You could say something like this: I am scared that if a dog bites me, I will not get efficient treatment and then I will get gangrene and my bitten leg will fall off, and then everyone I know will reject me!
It's silly stuff but it works! There is something about telling yourself the worst possible thing that could happen that jolts the mind into realizing just how unrealistic it is - although yes, a dog biting you is indeed rational, but the scenario that follows is not!