I recently realized, like this afternoon, that I have quite a few illustrations about what it is like to have a mental illness but I haven’t published any of them, or if I had previously published them I hadn’t written anything to go along with them. So I’ve unpublished them all and am republishing them with my words of wisdom. You’re welcome.
Last year I was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. More often than not I wake up consumed by that feeling you get when you’re leaning back in a chair and almost tip over. That’s my anxiety. At the same time, good ole depression snuggles in and tries to convince me that we should stay in bed all day. We aren’t going to accomplish anything so why bother? It’s an exhausting game of mental tug-of-war.
Since being diagnosed I started taking antidepressants and seeing a therapist every other week. In our sessions, we focus primarily on CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, during which I practice identifying negative thoughts and reframing them. I’ve definitely seen improvement but it’s been slow going. Getting better requires A LOT of hard work and unfortunately, life doesn’t hold still while you’re at it. In an ideal world, we could check out for a few weeks while we do the emotional heavy lifting but it just doesn’t work that way.
This illustrative series is my way of processing my mental health journey with some humor, sharing what it is like to live with mental illness, and if you are going through something similar reminding you that you aren’t alone.