You might have noticed that I, sometimes, like to “brag” about how bad my day is going. I use the word “brag” because I sometimes feel like an entitled brat because I have a mental illness. Entitled to “deserve better”, entitled to “lesser effort” and “easier opportunities”.
As you might also know, it can be entertaining to listen to my animated rant. Add in a dash of vulnerable humour and it’s the magic potion to get the sympathy of well-wishers (although it’s empathy I value the most when I’m really down).
Some of the best entertainers in my friends’ circle – the people who crack the wittiest of jokes – are the same people who go back home to pop their depression pills. It’s almost impossible to judge a person’s internal struggles by their outward appearance.
I too can be jolly, even with a mental illness.
It’s this humour which makes speaking about mental health more liberating to me. By laughing at my anxiety, I’m able to lessen the strength it bears on me. By poking fun at my seizures, I give it one less chance to poke back at me. I’ve made a few more people smile by pointing at my sometimes-awkward body language. By writing this blog post, I’ve opened myself up to a larger support community.
More often than not, it’s the route I take to decipher who I can be friends with, and who might not judge me very well. It’s a risk I take; because being accepted for who I am – mental illness and all- is far more rewarding than being loved for someone I’m genuinely not.