It’s 4 p.m and I am sitting on my bathroom floor, unable to move. My phone is ringing, and music is subtly playing from my computer in the other room, yet I lay there, completely still. You see, the thing about panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, is that you can’t even remotely control when they’re going to burst in. They just do. And it always blindsides you. So, sometimes, the only thing you are able to do, is wait for the crisis to pass.

But what even fuels these completely random attacks in the first place? What controls this sort of violation in your very own head?

The mind is rightfully the most complex organ. The one that commands your entire body how and when to do absolutely everything, and the one in control of all your thoughts. Besides, without it, your thoughts wouldn’t even exist. And just because our brain is isolated in our skull, we suppose that we are its one and only master, and we get to control it in a way that serves our best interest. Little do we know, that it is the mind that takes charge. For that it always tricks us into thinking, that, in the end of the day, it can be enchanted. And we are so naive that we choose to believe it.

We do not have even the tiniest bit of control when it comes to our heads. And people who suffer from any sort of mental illness, struggle every single day to come to terms with such things. Intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and sudden outbursts have become of part of everyday life, and sometimes the pain caused  cannot be lessened- because the unwanted thoughts cannot be lessened.

Coping with mental illness is almost like carrying a blue whale on your back. The elephant in the room that no one but you can address. 

You see, when you break your leg, you and everyone around you notices it, and you go to the doctor to cure the problem. But with mental illness, you can’t just put a cast on the problem. And it won’t just “go away” in a couple months.  Funnily,  your social entourage will most likely take your situation much more lightheartedly than is appropriate, showering you with tips such as: “don’t be sad”, or “just try and do things that make you happy”.

Well, thank you! I didn’t realise I could just do that! What a great piece of advice!

So, I’d like to call out the nonsense and the hypocrisy hidden behind this sort of good-intentioned advice. Because, if I knew how to be happy, you think I would do everything to be just that? Trust me, no one enjoys the constant war in their head.

The endless panic attacks, or days that you’re simply not able to function, triggered by a tiny detail, the loud crying, the mute shouting, the hopelessness, that bitter taste in your mouth as you try to recall the milk and honey that once covered it, the faded dreams and unfulfilled promises, the cigarettes, the booze, the sleeping, the dancing, the singing in the broad daylight, the writing, the tearing, the shutting out, the anger and the momentous joy, the sourness and sadness.The eternal, internal conflict taking place in your head. Just white noise, just… heaviness, taking over your body, making you feel as though you’ll never be happy again. Sometimes, a sudden positive upsurge will make you want to go out, and meet people, but it’s all extremely short-lasting, because you know you’ll get back in you cocoon soon enough.

There will be days that you’ll wake up with a head messier than your hair. And days that even getting out of bed will seem too much.

But then, there can be other days too.

Days that your bedhead doesn’t seem that bad after all, and you’re suddenly filled with a little hope. Days that music will sound better, and your hands won’t shake anymore. Days when your heartbeat will quicken and beautiful flowers will grow on your insides. There will be days that you’ll learn how to celebrate yourself, and breathe sighs of relief because you did, even for a minute. Days that you’ll move forward, and finally push an intrusive thought away. These days when you’ll have grown roots, watered by your tears, and grow to become the most beautiful, evergreen tree. Days that you’ll embrace your scars, and finally not miss the part of yourself that you’ve lost.

So maybe it’s time we acknowledge what’s broken and stop telling to ourselves that it’s nothing and that we can get better on our own. It’s time we start taking mental health more seriously.

After all, no matter how complex and difficult it can get, a mind is such a terrible thing to waste. I know. I know that we can’t just “fix it”, or effortlessly get our life back on track, but we can at least try to make it better. And trust me, little by little, patient by patient step, and more and more help from professionals, as well as the never ending support of our background, the pain can, and will eventually be lessened.

Maybe some of us will always have a sort of dispute in our brains, but it doesn’t have to take the form of war.  The truth is, that nothing ever really “goes away”; At least not on its own.

In the end of the day, remember that you should take care of yourself, no matter how broken or hopeless you might be feeling.

I know, because I once had a withering flower on my insides, too, and I was thinking to myself that I should quit.

But instead-

I took care of it.

Author: Ioanna Vargianiti

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