Shay Grace

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Stop Romanticizing Mental Health

Anorexia, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide
How you have become my friends
You have grown up with me and have been by my side
Friends I could not live without
You guys have controlled my life
And have left me at the end of my rope
What I go through every day is very real
You have put me through the lowest darkest times
It angers me when people put off my issues
Like they don't even care, they don't even try
The stigma around you is disheartening
The misconceptions are crazy
And I hope that I can set things straight
Cause how people romanticize mental health is terrifying
You see mental health is not pretty

Is not all skinny twig thin models
Not something for high schoolers to strive for
Or something for rich white girls
It’s not about looking pretty
It is not something that you wish for
It is convincing myself that I don’t like pizza, chips, or ice cream
Or how the sight of mashed potatoes makes me start to cry
It’s the devil on my shoulder telling me not to eat
It’s more than just counting calories
The need to know the percentage of fat
And how each bite will result in
20 sit-ups and 50 jumping jacks
Its the internal calorie counter reminding me
That I have exceeded my daily limit
They’re like blaring fire alarms, I can't ignore
It’s looking in the mirror and hating what I see
But so much that I begin to hurl
How the number on the scale now weighs in worth
And the emptiness makes me feel whole
It's never wearing swimsuits
Only baggy oversized hoddies to hide my imperfections
That devil watches every move, action, and decision
It controls my life, the one I can’t escape
You see Anorexia is not pretty

Is not me being shy
It is not cute or silly
It is not something that you can whip out of me
Or with confidence will disappear
It is lying awake till 4 am replaying every conversation
And every little mistake I made that day
It is the crippling fear of leaving my house
And losing friends cause I can’t go out
It's crying in a restroom stall when the waiter
Simply asked what I wanted to eat for dinner
It is feeling that I have missed all the milestones
Cause anxiety has held me, hostage
It is the repeating panic attacks
That I can never prepare for
And the feeling that I am dying
I mean who wants to be bent over
Hyperventilating, vomiting, and sobbing
Thinking that this is the end of your life
This is pushing everyone away from me
Because I am too scared to get close to people
Anxiety pulls and tears down my life
And no matter how hard I try to hide it
It shows up at the worst of times
You see Anxiety is not pretty

Is not catching up on beauty sleep
It is not just being sad on one given day
It is not a choice that I make between happy or sad
Cause you didn’t think I tried that?
It's not always the kid who wears black
And cries her eyes out to her friends
But rather the kid who is always helping the others
And fades into the background, never really noticed
Sometimes we get really good at pretending and fake smiles
But we are dying on the inside
Depression is scary and isolating
It is almost impossible to live with
Its how my thoughts begin to spiral
And worst-case scenarios and past memories
Play like a black and white film
Its massacre stain pillowcases
The smallest task are mountains to climb
This is the dread of living one more day
The unbearable pain just to stay awake
Let alone get out of bed and go to work for the day.
I mean it's not like I choose or want this
It is hating my life, hating myself
To the point where I want to just give up
You see Depression is not pretty

Is not making cuts on your body
So that the love of your life can kiss them
And wash your problems away
It’s not attention-seeking behavior
If it was then why did I hide it for five years?
Self-harm is a storm of terror and hatred
It’s wearing long sleeves and pants in summer
It’s panic attacks when people point and stare
Or when they mock and ridicule my scars
It’s having stashes of blades under my bed at eleven years old
It is the sense of calm at the smell of dried blood
This isn’t a joke
It’s terrifying, maddening,
It's one last grasp to hang on to life
Its a lifetime of hurt and pain
Each scar has a sickening story to tell
It may have started as one swipe of a blade
But then I am cutting deeper and deeper
The blood runs darker and I can’t get out
It’s realizing that I have to cut just to make it through the day
You see Self-harm is not pretty

Is always painted so peaceful
Falling into a deep sleep by some pills
Slipping into the darkness in my tub
We make it sound so heavenly
And we joke about it too
I’ll kill myself if the teacher assigns homework or
She just hooked up with that boy
I’m going to kill myself
But from my experience, it’s not
It’s when you are at rock bottom
It’s only hearing they’re better off without me
And there is no place for me here
That I’m worthless and alone
Suicide is blood pooling around my emotionless face
It’s hurling over toilet bowls cause I
Decided to eat the entire medicine cabinet
It’s my grandmother banging on locked bathroom doors
And it’s my brother's confused face
When told not to spend time with me
This is darkness and drowning
This is letting go cause people have hurt me so bad and
How I’ve hurt myself with my own thoughts
You see suicide is not pretty

Anorexia, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide,
These are things I will live with till the day I die
These are the battles I face every day
And this is far from being pretty
You don’t wake up and decide to have a mental illness
You don’t beg to live in hell on earth
These are not choices that one makes
But rather something hand to us that we can’t let go
I wonder how long I will continue to fight this war
And maybe someday I will look back and see the
battles I fought and the wars I won
That I have made it through one step at a time
Mental health has controlled my life
A life bloody impossible to live
So I ask for you to stop romanticizing it cause
You see mental health is a crazy bitch
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