I’m flying home today.
Earlier in the week I flew across the country with my husband on business, and I suffered from an anxiety attack that spanned about four hours on two separate planes.
It takes courage to go back to the airport and get in line, and sit in one of those tiny little seats next to strangers in a tube that flies through the air.
Courage is something people with a mental illness have a lot of. It is as if they have a well of courage that has to be tapped into daily in order to do the things that other people take for granted.
Some people fear leaving their homes so going to the mailbox is a huge accomplishment.
Some people have an eating disorder so consuming 1200 calories in a day is remarkable.
Some people suffer from depression so getting out of bed and taking a shower is progress.
Some people are manic so not getting irritated at their loved ones is prize worthy.
Some people are paranoid so trusting the mailperson or the cashier at the grocery store can be incredible.
Some people suffer from panic attacks and anxiety so many tasks or situations can take tremendous courage.
Some people hear voices that tell them their food is poisoned but they ignore the voices and eat anyway.
Going to the mailbox, getting out of bed, taking a shower, not screaming at your spouse or kids, getting dressed, or eating dinner. These things are probably something most people never think about, but when you have a mental illness these can be worse than a small obstacle to jump over, these can be thick walls that you hit your head on and can’t get past.
People who have a mental illness and try to function in jobs and relationships like everyone else must tap into that well of courage. They aren’t anything like the once cowardly lion in Wizard of Oz, they possess courage in abundance and must access it constantly, but there are no good witches or red ruby slippers to get them past their flying monkeys, their wicked witches, or their sleep causing poppies.
They have to make the choice to do it themselves.
And they do, more often than not, they do.
Here’s to all of those people who battle a mental illness! Here is to your courage, even if the world doesn’t see it, I do, and the depth of your courage makes you a real life hero. Remember that, and hold it in your heart and mind the next time everyday things try to conquer you – you’ve got this, you proved it hundreds of times before.
Make a door in that wall and pass through.