Sailing the Dark Seas: A Response
By Michelle, age 17
Editor's Note: A reader submitted this in response to Sandhya's article "Sailing the Dark Seas" (Jun '10).
I am only 17 years old and suffering from severe depression. I am doing my best to get better by taking medication and seeing a therapist once a week. It is taking me longer than I expected to get better, but I believe I will make it. I am stopping my medication in two weeks along with my mother (she also suffers from depression) because it is only making it worse.
It is true, people who have never suffered from a mental illness have a hard time understanding the people who do. Many of them (like my grandfather, for instance) think I behave as I do on purpose, that I don't try hard enough, and that I am a coward. It hurts. These people obviously don't know me. I try my best at everything, but sometimes I am just not able to make it. Sometimes I just need a break. Sometimes my emotional state isn't able to take it. People think it is a question of WILL. But it's not always like this. I do the best I can, and doing more than my best would be hard on me.
Many people don't realize this, but there are more people than we think with mental illnesses. Sometimes you don't even know you have it. We are always warned about physical illnesses, about the signs and what to do if you have one of them. But we barely think about mental illnesses, what they do to you, the signs, and how to get better. I wish people would understand that mental illness is not alien, it's not wrong, it's not done on purpose, and most of all, it is not your fault that you have it.