Mental illness is a strange thing, you can’t physically see it (usually) but sometimes it can feel as though it’s suffocating and wrapping around your whole body. I can only really comment from my own experiences but I don’t think people realise how tiring having a mental illness is, it’s emotionally exhausting. What most people can do in a day and feel fine afterwards makes me feel so exhausted and as though I have no energy left for anything else, I start university at 10am and finish at 1pm (which is great!) but the way it makes me feel you’d think I’d been working all day and night. Not only does it make me feel mentally exhausted but it makes me feel ill, I feel sick and almost lifeless and all I want to do is rest but it’s not that simple. I have work to do and a social life I attempt to keep up with and even though these may seem like simple things to some, for someone who is suffering with a mental illness they can be the hardest things ever.
Just remember that because you can’t see something physical wrong with someone it doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. Mental illness comes in many forms and differs for everyone, so don’t assume you know how they feel because odds are you probably don’t.
If you know someone who suffers with a mental illness and you want to support them you’re probably best off asking them how you can do this. Like I said, it’s different for everyone and I can only speak from my own experiences but even still different people want support in different forms. Some may want time alone, others might just want you to hold them with no questions asked and others might want to talk about it and open up to you. So just ask them what they want and then do your best to support their wishes. When I’m having a particularly bad day with my mental illness I tend to differ in what I want, sometimes I want to be alone and lay on my bed and cry all day and other times I want someone to talk to me about random things and try to make me laugh. I understand that it’s difficult for my friends and family to know what I need/want on that particular day but some of them just know because they know me so well and others ask how they can help. It’s difficult living with a mental illness but I also know it’s difficult supporting someone with one.
And finally, understand that there is sometimes nothing you can do to help and if you’re suffering from a mental illness there will be days where you can’t help yourself and that is perfectly fine.