Why It’s Okay I’ll Never Recover From My Anxiety

I look fine, right?

I look fine, right?

Last week, Amanda Bynes was arrested for a DUI. People were pretty shocked because the young star has been doing really well in her recovery. She’s been taking classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and seemed to be happy and healthy. Recent reports state that Amanda hasn’t recovered and has been seen acting just as erratically as before.

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!
 

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  • Alex

    I didn’t know anxiety was actually considered a ‘mental illness’… but it’s definitely something I’ve dealt with for more than half of my life. I’m looking into meditation and other natural means to deal with it, though.. I don’t believe in taking medication, and naturally I have anxiety about its effects. (haha.. we must retain our sense of humor… that’s really what gets me through life.. as well as faith and a positive outlook).

    We all have our own coping methods….

  • Aubree

    Wow, Im really glad I’ve found this article. I as well deal with anxiety and depression on a daily basis. I’ve come so far in my recovery; it is an absolutely amazing feeling to just wake up in the morning without feeling completely hopeless. I decided to take medication due to the fact that A. Things were extremely bad; I was no longer safe by myself and B. my anxiety converts into non epileptic seizures; my psychiatrist has characterized it as a conversion disorder/ chemical imbalance. Call it what you want but every day I’m taking my medication at 10pm I think to myself.. will this be me for the rest of my life? relying on medication to keep me stable? I love my medication (not to sound like a junkie), It and therapy has helped me progress so much. This is why thinking about coming off of the medication scares me. It is a very big decision and I am in a very touchy stage in life. I am a freshman in college so I do not want it to effect my studies, and I want to work and do school in the summer so I would like to be mentally put together for that too…. I know one day I will try to get off of this medication, but i think the most scary part is even though I’m on medication I still have my days. I still breakdown, I still get stuck in a low mood some days and I still have anxiety attacks. However, this is much more manageable. I truly look up to what you are doing and hope you continuing inspiring people like me

  • Alicia Lopes

    I’ve suffered with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for almost ten years now and was only officially diagnosed by a doctor about two months ago. A big chunk of the reason why I waited so long to actually seek professional help for this is because of the stigma associated with anxiety and other similar mental illnesses, that you can control your anxiety provoking thoughts, that it’s just a phase or that your being overly dramatic. I just always thought that I was over reacting most of the time and that I was a hypochondriac, but in the back of my mind I always knew that I had little control over the thoughts and physical reactions that were happening to me because of my disorder. It’s especially true when even your family members, your mother to be specific are the ones enforcing these stigma’s and beliefs on you. I’m on medication now, a lower dosage of Cipralex, and I could not be happier that I decided to start medication to help me carry on a semi-normal life. To this day, my parents still don’t seem to believe or accept the fact that what I’m suffering from is an actual mental illness, my mom thinks its just a phase that I’m going through that will pass eventually, this article brought some clarity and comfort to me. I was hesitant at first to try medication, as many people are, but I had tried counselling and meditation etc. and found that it just was not a good enough option for me. Everyone deals with these things differently, if you can cope with your mental illness in a way that doesn’t involve medication then I envy you, but for others medication may be the right and best choice for them. I love reading articles like this, I feel like a lot of us are afraid to talk about these types of things out of fear for sounding ‘crazy’ but knowing that there are other people out there suffering with some of the things I thought I was suffering completely alone with is a great feeling.

  • Johanna

    I’ve struggling with anxiety and depression half of my life now… I don’t think I’ll ever be better

  • Sarah

    I don’t have a mental illness, but I have always had an issue with stress and worrying, but not to the severe extent of anxiety. But aside from that, I hear the same from my friends or people who expect me to stop worrying so much or to stop stressing out so much. I don’t think it’s something I’ll be able to get rid of altogether but have been learning how to manage my stress and how to manage and minimize my worrying in healthier ways.

    But even though no one can really be cured from mental illness or completely recover from things like worrying constantly or stressing out excessively, we can overcome and be bigger than these struggles. They don’t define or make up who we are/identity. It’s merely a side or a footnote to a person’s identity/personality.

  • Foreverawesome

    So true! I have major anxiety (this includes social anxiety too) and it doesn’t just ‘go away’. I am not something to be ‘fixed’! I have enough trouble dealing with it without people trying to ‘cure me’. Anxiety is also a big part of who I am. I have been living with it for 6 years now. It can be really hard, but you can’t just snap your fingers and have it go away! All I need is for people to understand! (thank you for getting this far) RANT OVER

  • Nia

    Just try the medication. I was really anxious about starting medication for my depression and anxiety because I was afraid I would become to dependent on it, but had I started it on it sooner I may be have saved my mom a few thousand dollars on a hospital stay because I planned to kill myself.

    I commend your efforts to manage your anxiety by using other helpful measures, but if it’s been some time and you’re still not where you want to be, just give the medicine a try. There are plenty of medicinal regimens, and even the option to stop taking medicine if you want.

    People with asthma, allergies, migraines, and other chronic illnesses take medicine to help them feel better, right? It’s okay if people with mental illnesses do too.

  • Angela

    My thoughts exactly on my depression. People just want me to get better. I tell them, that this is not something that will leave me. As long as I live, I will be depressed. Cause, once mental illnesses tag you, you’re it. They won’t go away. The only way to deal with them is to either succumb to them, or become better than them. I hope everyone chooses the second one.