I’ve shared bits and pieces of my mental health struggle here on my blog, as well as my social media. Something that I haven’t shared about is the struggle of being a successful person with a mental health struggle (or any struggle at all, really). I saw this shirt and immediately had this idea for a post. I want to first say: I’m beyond thankful for my success, for the dynamic personality that overpowers my weaknesses, and for the ability to journey this far through life without major setbacks that so often come with the mental health illness that I have. I share this post in hopes that I can help others relate to this constant oxymoron that is my lifestyle and my mental illness.
Probably from the moment you meet me, “I’m Fine,” is the biggest lie that my life whispers in your ear as you take in my appearance alone – my smile, sense of style, my immediately vibrant personality. The double-edged sword of having a mental health illness and actually being approachable has always given new acquaintances false expectations of normalcy. While I am approachable, stylish, and full of personality, my close relationships fall far short from “normal.” …and the more you get to know me, the more my life lies to you, it begins to full-on shout that “I’m Fine!”
During a simple conversation over a cup of coffee, you could hear any aspect of my life shrieking that, “I’m Fine!” From my degree to the cute purse I’m carrying, my life lies to you about how much my mental illness affects it. While most aspects of my life are more than “Fine,” successful even, I’m Not Always Fine. I know what you’re thinking, no one is always fine. It’s just that my life lies to you and tells you that “I’m Fine” more than I actually am fine.
My life lies to you and tells you that I can manage relationships as “normal,” that I don’t need additional emotional support, that “I’m Fine.” If my mental illness was as obvious as the other aspects of my life, it would tell you the truth – that, on any given day, I’m usually up to my ears in anxiety and stress that I’m going to lose everyone in my life. Instead of “I’m Fine,” you’d hear “I Need You.” While I don’t expect anyone to approach me as though something is “wrong” with me, I share this message in hopes to connect with others who “appear” to be “Fine,” but are struggling – mentally, emotionally, financially, and/or physically. It can be overwhelmingly frustrating to have your needs disregarded due to your appearance, success in life, or financial state. Pretty people can have diseases, CEO’s can have depression, and even rich people can have debt. “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I’m not exempt because of any “positive” thing in my life. “I’m Fine” is a lie my life tells you.