We live in a world where we tell people there’s only one way to feel: OK. When someone isn’t smiling and skipping around, we tell them something’s wrong. We insist that life is wonderful and everyone loves being alive. But we all know deep down inside that’s all pretentious bullsh*t and rarely is everyone really OK.
That dreamworld we try to paint in our minds never really exists. Everyone battles their own demons; we all struggle to make it through the day. The reality is that mental illness is alive and well worldwide. Some people aren’t neurotypical, and no one is the same.
So here’s to those whose mental health holds no silver linings, yet somehow we’re still OK.
To the girl who sometimes spends her day in bed because the world is just too much: Sometimes there is no silver lining to mental health (and that’s OK). Those people who tell you that it could be worse don’t really know what it feels like deep inside. Sometimes life is overwhelming, and even faking a smile is a draining feat. You take your pills, put on your shoes, but wish you could just disappear. Maybe tomorrow things will change (or maybe they won’t). It’s really hard to say.
Whether the forecast calls for sun or rainy days is irrelevant, though. Because you don’t need that silver lining to continue trucking on. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Heck, even Sadness eventually saves the day.
To the guy who avoids eye contact and fidgets when he talks: Sometimes there is no silver lining to mental health (and that’s OK). Your brother may find it easy to stand in front of massive crowds, but that doesn’t mean it is for you. Sometimes people make you sweat, and you worry that someone will see you stumble. You try to shop like your therapist said, but give up halfway through. Maybe you’ll succeed next time (or perhaps not). It’s really hard to say.
Whether you panic or persevere really matters not. Because you don’t need that silver lining to continue breathing air. Life isn’t always smooth and calm. Besides, people are often overrated anyway.
Related: What It Was Like Getting ECT as a Minor
To the woman who freezes every time she hears his name: Sometimes there is no silver lining to mental health (and that’s OK). Those people who tell you to stop being dramatic just don’t understand what it’s like to be this kind of victim. Sometimes you panic when you walk into a room and the walls start closing in. You take deep breaths, count down from 10, but that fear simply will not fade. Maybe someday you’ll make it through the meeting (but probably not). It’s really hard to say.
Whether you can pretend to be “one of the guys” really isn’t a big deal anyway. Because you don’t need a silver lining to invalidate your past. Life isn’t always as simple as “forgive and forget.” After all, your memories made you who you are today.
To the person who wonders if what they feel is real or merely just a dream: Sometimes there is no silver lining to mental health (and that’s OK). Your coworkers may not understand and think you’re just pulling their leg. Sometimes you literally lose days or weeks, and the way you see minor situations never feels the same. You thought the meds would stop the visions, but now they’re coming back. Maybe someday you’ll feel normal (or more likely not). It’s really hard to say.
Whether you seek help for your entire life or not shouldn’t mean a God d*mn thing. Because sometimes there simply is no silver lining to the hand that you were dealt. Life isn’t about conformity; it’s about paving your own way. Hell, even people who don’t hallucinate forget and make mistakes.
It’s time we all stop lying to ourselves by saying that life is beautiful and grand for everyone at all times. The world may be our oyster, but life is often dismal and mundane.
Next time you are struggling to find that silver lining, just know you are not alone. Seriously, with or without it, I promise… you’ll be OK.
This piece originally appeared on Thought Catalog.