If you need a refresher, Amanda was held under a 5250 hold for psychiatric observation and went to a rehab facility. Though we’re not sure exactly what Amanda was undergoing treatment for, there were rumors of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. That last part is very important because, well, you don’t recover from mental illness. People don’t seem to understand that, but anyone with mental illness will tell you that you don’t just get over it.
A lot of people in my life suffer from mental illness, but it’s not my place to discuss their illnesses. I can, however, discuss my own. I’ve shared my battles with anxiety and depression with you guys quite a bit, but even when I’m not talking about my mental illnesses, I’m still dealing with them. You may see me as upbeat and fun on my Instagram. You might find me chipper and open through my voice her on Gurl. From the outside, I look totally fine! I look recovered.
I’ll tell you a secret: I’m not recovered. Not by a long shot. And I never will be because you do not recover from mental illness. You are always in a constant state of recovery. Mental illnesses are a part of of your makeup, like a birthmark in your brain. You can’t just get rid of them, although I wish that were not the case because my life would be a lot easier.
I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I get up really early and am ready to take on the day. I’m excited and want to do all the things! Other days, I’m terrified to put my feet on the floor. Sometimes it takes me about an hour to even muster the strength to get out of bed, but from just looking at me, you’d probably never know that. I manage my mental illness, but I’m not recovered.
I’m still debating whether or not to go on medication because it probably will help my recovery. But it’s never going to cure me. There seems to be this idea that you can just be cured, but mental illness is not something that will just go away in a few months. Medicine might make me feel better, but it could also make me feel a lot worse. I’m choosing to manage my anxiety through other means like regularly seeing my therapist, meditation and other tools.
It’s tough because when you have a mental illness and start feeling better, people take notice. You think that what you’re doing is curing you, but it’s not. It’s managing you. Many people I know have stopped doing their treatments (medicated and otherwise) because they were feeling better, only to end up back where they started. That’s because mental illness is a life-long recovery process. The recovery thing will trick you because it’s not recovery. And that is okay!
It took me a little while to really figure that out because during my deep period of depression earlier this year, I just wanted to feel better. I wanted everything to go away, but that’s not how things work. I realized that it wasn’t something that would go away overnight. It was something I would have to work on and continue to work on regularly.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that people with mental illnesses can’t function normally. As someone with a mental illness who functions normally on a regular basis, I know that’s not true. But I’d be naive to think that I will just wake up one day and be recovered. I’m never going to be recovered, but I can manage my recovery for the rest of my life and be fine.
Do us mentally ill people a favor and stop expecting us to recover. Instead, expect us to manage normal lives and be okay. Just let us live.
Do you struggle with mental illnesses? Do people expect you to be recovered? How to you manage your illness? Tell us in the comments!
You can reach this post’s author, Caitlin Corsetti, on Twitter and Instagram!