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Do I Want to "Get Well"?

"Get Well" and "Get Well II" by Icon for Hire. I wish I could post both of these songs and call it a day, but that wouldn't say much about my own writing abilities.

These songs are about mental illness. They're so real, they're words I hardly ever hear. I want more of their realness. I've searched for internet posts and found very few. So, I will create one. Here are some lyrics that really hit me, and about which we need to start a conversation.

"Can you find me friends that don't rank me on what I've been through
The more battle scars the more attention it gets you" (Get Well)

These lyrics make my stomach hurt, and that's why they work so well. In high school, there was so much pressure to have the saddest sob story possible. We needed to outdo each other's pain. How can I one-up you? And the thing is, I still see it and I can still feel it. It creates this vicious cycle- the more your pain shows and the more dramatic your story is, the more pity you accrue, and the more justified you feel. "We've hurt bad enough, right, we've earned it" (Get Well). It can be addictive.

"My sad makes me special...
Wearing our sob stories like colors
The truth is we like it" (Get Well II)

This is probably going to be quite controversial, but the thing about many (not all) cases of teenage self-harm is that it is for attention. But the important thing to know is needing attention is not a bad thing. Some people are so lost in their heads that they don't know how to find the words, so they write the questions in scars. They need attention, and not just from their friends- from medical professionals. (If you're worried about someone you know, remember that it's better to have them alive and mad than staying a "good friend" and letting them die.)

"We've cut up our lives trying put down the knife
Trying to pick up the fight" (Get Well II)

Recovering from the toxic mentality of  "I need my pain" (Get Well II) is hard. Especially in teens, it's quite difficult to convince someone that there's even a problem. Many people who struggle with these things are aware that they're holding onto their illness with white knuckles because they don't know what to do if they let go, they don't remember who they are without it. "Depression's like a big fur coat; it's made of dead things but it keeps me warm" (Iodine). That's not to say they can switch it off in a day by simply letting go. It is still a process. But knowing that there is something beyond and better than the sadness is step one.

"Did you think you were the only one? ...
We're all holding on trying to make sense of
The insanity that we once loved" (Get Well II)

We are not alone. Everyone has a story, and there are many people who have recovered or are in the recovery process. It won't be simple or straightforward. There will be many steps back. It will be hard to leave the comfort of the known, even if it's painful, for the unknown. "Stay where you are, but it hurts like help" (Get Well). It's kind of like walking without crutches for the first time, not knowing if your legs will hold you up.

But one day you will run. And even when you fall, you will have people to pick you up again, because you're not the only one running this race.

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In Support of Emotional Abuse Survivors

Dear survivor:

Before anything else, I want to tell you your trauma is valid. Even if you don't have bruises or scars and you feel like you don't have "proof." Even if you were only with them for a short time. Even if you feel like it was your fault and you had your chance to leave. You are not crazy or complaining for being honest about your trauma.

You are not the only one who feels this way. You are not alone in your confusion, frustration, and pain.

It may take you a long time to recognize that you were abused. It may take years. That doesn't mean you're making it up. It may take several therapists to properly deal with your residual feelings. That doesn't mean you're being too dramatic.

Someday, you might find yourself doing things that your abuser used to do, and you start to panic and think "I'm turning into him/her." You're not. You're not like them. You're a survivor and you can change those behaviors and be better.

Loving Yourself When You Love Someone with Mental Illness

There are many articles online about how to love someone with a mental illness. I do not want to say that those are unimportant; they are very, very important. But something I have not seen in any article is the message that they need to care for themselves as well.

It's hard to love someone in the middle of the storm. It's hard to give so much of yourself up for someone who may not appreciate you at the time. It's hard to know when to stop giving, and it's even harder to "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." (Prov 4:23)

So, today I am here to talk to the children, the best friends, the partners of those with mental illness. From someone who both experiences depression and anxiety and has family/friends with various mental illness, I'm here to say: take care of yourself, too.

You are not supposed to fix them.

You can't. As I posted recently, "you don't 'cure' mental illness; you treat it through an everyday, …