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The hardest thing about being mentally ill is definitely psychosis – in my opinion there is nothing worse than that. It is terrifying to be out of touch with reality and so often the voices, hallucinations, delusions, etc. are more frightening than any Hollywood horror show could ever come close to. But there are other things about mental illness that are hard, and I think those things are the daily stresses and situations that everyone has to deal with.

Just because you have a mental illness you don’t get a pass on other diseases. You still have to worry about cancer, heart disease, etc. This fact is a great equalizer – we are all in the same situation. We are all human and cancer and heart disease don’t discriminate. A chronic illness is difficult for anyone to deal with, but if you are dealing with a mental illness on top of a major health concern (diabetes is a big one), the stress can be enough to further damage your health.

I feel like those of us with a mental illness are in a no-win cycle at times. We have to take our medications, and our medications can cause serious illnesses. Exercise and diet help with our symptoms and with illnesses, but the medications can cause an increase in hunger, a lack of motivation, tiredness and lethargy making diet and exercise near impossibilities.

Holy cow! That is a lot to deal with, and then you factor in taking out the trash, going grocery shopping, figuring out how to pay the bills, a job (if you are lucky enough to be able to have and keep one), dishes, laundry, meal preparation, etc.  I know that these are the same stressors and situations that all people deal with, but combined with a mental illness it can look like a mountain that you are unable to climb, or a mountain that you start to climb, but get hit with something else and slip back ten feet, only to try again to go ten feet and slip back twenty.

All of these things are hard, but dealing with other people can be the most challenging thing of all (besides psychosis). Other people have issues! It is hard when you are mentally ill to recognize that other people have problems that are as big of an issue as a mental illness.  For instance, some people are very manipulative, passive-aggressive, gossips, mean-spirited, angry, bitter, takers, competitive, and spiteful. Most people won’t cut you any slack from their passive-aggressiveness, or their criticism because you have a mental illness. You are most often forced to deal with your symptoms and the difficult character and personality traits of others – exhausting! There are times when I really think that some people I know have more “symptoms” than I do, even though they haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness.

I know I am usually hopeful, grateful, and upbeat in my blog, but today, I was overcome by how difficult it can be to be someone with a mental illness and try to maneuver the world and other people.

Today I am just honoring all of you who have to deal with life in the same way as everyone else and on top of that manage the symptoms of a mental illness. It is not easy and you are occasionally allowed to throw your hands in the air and yell, “Enough is enough!” Because honestly, it can be too much for all of us some times.  Give yourself a smiley face on your notebook today. I gave myself a smiley face and a piece a chocolate. Come on, we both deserve it.