by Jennifer Lynn
My name is Lynn…
I have depression…
I have anxiety…
I have an Eating Disorder…
My name is Lynn and I suffer from mental illness.
I’ve known since an early age that something was wrong
I never felt like I fit in or was comfortable in my own
I always felt periods of overwhelming sadness…
Life always felt…hard.
I could never put a name to what was wrong with
me…but I just knew that I wasn’t right.
I spent years desperately trying to keep my feelings
I tried to pretend that I was fine and to put on a
I was lying to the outside world and in many ways lying
to myself…sometimes I think I still am.
That is why I am writing this today…
I have spent the last year trying to get to know
Who is the real Lynn?
What do I wish people could understand about me and
about mental illness?
Here it goes…in no particular order.
1) Mental Illness Is Not A Choice – Because seriously,
who wouldn’t want to cry themselves to sleep on a regular
basis? And who doesn’t want to heart pounding experience of
a panic attack? And who doesn’t like losing weight to the
point that your hair starts to fall out and it hurts to sit
in a chair? Nobody would ever choose this…
2) I Am Not Seeking Attention – I am the girl who as a
child would stay up early into the morning just
sobbing…and I never, ever told anybody about it until
recently. Only a handful of people know of my situation and
I have trouble really opening up to most people. I like to
get attention from positive accomplishments…not my
illness…I find it embarrassing.
3) I Am Not Being Dramatic – While some of the things I
say and write may come off as dramatic, they come straight
from my heart and are brutally honest…emphasis on the
brutal. My thoughts hurt to say and write and I wish I
didn’t have to think them.
4) You’d Lose Your Mind Trying To Understand Mine – I
don’t understand what is going on in my mind half the time,
so I never expect anybody else to. Just know that my mind is
full of chaos and please understand that when I start to
spiral I can’t help it.
5) I Think About Killing Myself – The first time it
entered my mind I was about eleven. I seriously considered
it in college. And now I think about it all the time. It’s
not that I want to die…I just want to stop hurting and I
don’t want to burden anybody else with my problems. But
suicide is NOT an option.
6) Please Don’t Hate Me – Please hate my illness and
not me. It has robbed me of enough over the years, please
don’t let it ruin a friendship. And that leads to…
7) Remember Me For The Good Times – I am way more than
my ED or my depression. And even though I am probably at my
worst right now, please remember me at my best. Think of me
with smiles and laughter, even though I may not always be
able to do the same.
8) I Still Have A Sense Of Humor – I suffer from
depression, but I still am really funny too. Please do not
be afraid to joke with me…I need to laugh more than ever.
9) I Feel Guilty – I am in my head so much of the time
that I feel guilty for being selfish. I try hard to be a
good friend and not to make life all about me, but if I fail
at it please know that I am sorry. I want to know about your
life because I care. I guess it’s because I spent so much of
my life ignoring my problems and putting others first, now I
may need to be a little selfish as I try to get better.
10) OSFED – I have an eating disorder. I am classified
as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) and it
is just as life threatening if not more so than the more
well-known types. Telling me to “just eat more” sounds
simple, but the disease is not about food. I love food and
so want to eat and be weight restored to a healthy place. My
depression/anxiety make it all the harder…it is a constant
battle that I fight.
11) I’m Scared – I’m scared of so many things right
now. I’m scared that I will never beat this. I’m scared that
I will always feel like this. I’m scared I will let people
down. I’m scared I will hurt my friends and family. I’m
scared I will die.
12) I Am Not Weak – It takes a strong person to have
lived inside my head for so long. I am not weak even though
my mental illness is starting to take its toll and break me
down. A weak person would have quit years ago. The fact that
I am still alive means that I am strong. The fact that I
have been quite successful in life even though I have
struggled means that I am strong. The fact that I am still
fighting even though I want to quit means that I am strong.
13) I Feel Like A Failure – That I can’t seem to get
control over my own mind makes me feel like a failure. I may
know logically that this is not my fault, but I still feel
like I should be able to power through this on my own…but
I can’t. Finally agreeing to take medication only added to
this sense of failure. And that the medication is making me
worse just fuels the fire. I feel like I don’t fail at
anything…but I’m failing at being me.
14) I’m An Optimist – Having a depression does not make
me a negative person. I believe in the power of positive
thinking. I believe in looking at the bright side. I believe
that things happen for a reason. I can see the good in life
and recognize my blessings. At the same time I can also be
consumed with sadness and feel as if I’m trapped under a
dark cloud. If I wasn’t an optimist, I would have checked
out of life years ago.
15) I’m Sorry – I say “I’m sorry” all the time. I am a
huge people pleaser and the thought of causing anybody any
trouble makes me feel physically ill. I truly am sorry if I
do anything to be a burden or to bring somebody down. I want
to be a motivator and help people…not be the person who
needs help. But…
16) I Need Help – Another thing I say often of late. It
took a little persuasion from a friend to make me realize
that I needed to get some help for myself. I didn’t know how
to ever ask for help before…I didn’t think I was worthy. I
still need help and lots of it.
17) I Am Thankful – I am so thankful for everything I
have in life. Even though things are bad, I would not trade
the good that is coming from it. For the first time I am
allowing myself to feel…even if it hurts. For the first
time I am learning how to be authentic. For the first time I
am learning to trust people. For the first time I have true
friends who have gone above and beyond for me and I would do
the same in return.
18) I Wear A Mask – I realize that I am not the same
person that many people have thought I was. I was able to
wear a mask and put on a front that all was okay for
years…but it never really was okay. Not to say that I was
being fake or phony, I was just protecting others from my
disorder and trying my best. The “Lynn” that people saw was
real…she does exist. But I just did not allow anybody to
see the rest of me and I often had to force myself to be
“up” when inside I was crying.
19) I Am A Good Person – Having a mental illness does
not make me a bad person…it makes me a sick person. It is
no different than having any other disease and I am doing
everything in my power to get well.
20) Please Don’t Give Up On Me – No matter where my
journey leads me, please don’t ever give up on me. The only
reason I am still fighting is because of the support I have
been shown and the people that continue to be there for
me…a couple of people in particular and they know who they
are. I know it isn’t always easy and that I must be hard to
listen to and frustrating to understand, but please know
that I am trying so hard to get better and make you proud.
My name is Lynn and I suffer from mental illness…
My name is Lynn and I suffer…
My name is Lynn.