“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.” ~ Demi Lovato
When you don’t suffer from a mental illness, it’s hard to imagine the struggle someone faces that does; particularly the pain and the inner battle they are going through. Pain is pretty self-explanatory; it’s essentially a feeling of discomfort caused by an underlying factor(s). However, the inner battle that goes on within someone’s mind that suffers from a mental illness is very difficult to describe – but I suppose I’ll give it a shot.
When you’re on a diet foods that you shouldn’t be eating (example: chips, chocolate, fast food, etc.) tend to become more appealing and desirable. Your mind tells you not to take the food – which you are on a diet. While on the other hand your body tells you to go ahead and eat it. One piece of food can’t be THAT bad for you. Now you’ve got this back and forth dilemma/argument going on within your mind that you can’t seem to decide who you should side with. Sure, one piece of unhealthy food isn’t THAT bad for you. But, on the reciprocating side, you are on a diet and/or are trying to eat healthier. Majority of the time, you tend not to eat the food – or at least I don’t anyways. You essentially fight the urge to give into the want for the unhealthy food.
Let’s put this into perspective in terms of a mental illness. When you have a mental illness, and your symptom(s) begin to arise, the inner battle within begins. Some of those who suffer from mental illness often have other coinciding issues – for example, self-harm, eating disorders. Within these two factors, a mental illness and coinciding issues, the battle becomes harder and harder to fight. The battle looks a little something like this:
When you start to feel your symptoms arise, the battle is just beginning. You have two opposing thoughts going back and forth within your mind; you’ve got the good and the bad fighting for dominance within your mind and actions. What do you do? I know personally I have had to sit on my hands and cry to work through my emotions and battle. Why? Because I knew that this would make me sit and focus on what I needed to do; which was to get the thoughts that I had to stop and to help alleviate my symptoms.
Now, I know that the analogy wasn’t all that great, but in all honesty that is the only way I could try to give you an idea as to how the inner battle within someone’s mind works while suffering from a mental illness. The only way I can describe it is: a battle between forces fighting for dominance.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.