seven-letter word.


I’ve been having trouble writing and posting lately. But I questioned whether or not I wanted to post this. Maybe I decided to do it because I know I’ve not been posting… or maybe I’ve finally realized that since I’ve written at least five different versions of this post over the past few weeks, I need to get it out of me. Yet I still have reservations… hopefully I won’t regret this…

I’ve lived with depression and anxiety for most of my life. And I hate it. Of course I hate it. I’ve seen doctors and nurses and counselors and therapists. I’m finally seeing someone who’s really good. Not because she gave me a diagnosis, something I never had until this past year, but because she really listens to me. She’s not even a therapist but she hears me more than any therapist ever has… even to the point where she sees that I’m not in a place right now where therapy is going to do me a damn bit of good.

But… a diagnosis is a double-edged sword. It’s a relief, in a way, to have one. There’s a real reason I am the way I am. It’s an illness. It’s not my fault. But when I heard the word, it freaked me out. It still freaks me out. In fact, I can’t get myself to type the seven-letter word in a post. I find it embarrassing. Like I should be able to fix it. Like I’m weak and pathetic because I can’t. Like people will run from me when they hear it. ‘She’s fucked up! Get me away from her!

I blame my bad decisions for the way I feel today. My fault. But should I be blaming my illness? Or is that just an excuse? It feels like I’m just making excuses. But… did those bad decisions bring me to where I am today or did the illness cause me to make those bad decisions? Some would say the latter. I’m not sure I’m on board, though. I continue to blame myself… to be ashamed and embarrassed… to hate myself for being this way. My NP has told me many times that I have a real illness… that none of this is my fault. Yet I struggle to believe her… to believe any of that.

Am I one of the very people I get frustrated with because they don’t think mental health illnesses are real illnesses? They think I can just ‘cheer up’ or ‘choose to feel better’ or other such cliché garbage. But it is an illness. I sure as fuck didn’t choose to have it. I wish I could choose not to have it and it’d be gone. Poof! I fucking wish. I wish my cousin could have chosen not to have cancer… but he had no say in the matter… and neither do I. I’m sure my cousin didn’t blame himself or hate himself for having cancer. Yet I blame myself… and I hate myself… for being this way. How is it different? The blame, the hate, the choosing, I mean. How is it different?

Please don’t run screaming away from me. I’d miss you.

©2017 what sandra thinks


About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Hawaii where she could learn to surf. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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57 Responses to seven-letter word.

  1. Marquessa says:

    Mental illness is real and there is no need to be ashamed. It is what it is, you are strong. When someone has a broken arm, they don’t need to be embarrassed… The important thing is to take care of you. I’m happy that you’ve found someone who truly hears yoy. 👍 Sending hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s not your fault

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally get this and the struggle is real. Take care, my friend. You are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “But… a diagnosis is a double-edged sword. It’s a relief, in a way, to have one. There’s a real reason I am the way I am. It’s an illness. It’s not my fault. But when I heard the word, it freaked me out. It still freaks me out.”

    I know this feeling. It’s exactly how i felt when my oldest was diagnosed with Autism.

    Now, on to your point, I assume it’s simply long-held stigma and lack of knowledge. It’s not your fault, and you have zero to be ashamed of. The only shame would be if you weren’t seeking help. And I doubt anyone is running away screaming. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, I don’t know what this seven letter word is, but I can assure you that mental illness is very much real and it does effect us. It’s not so simple as ‘be happy’ or ‘get over it’ I’ve heard those so many times, I’d be a rich woman if I was paid a penny every time. Whatever it is, it’s not your fault. Mine isn’t my fault either. Relieving ourselves of that guilt is also much harder to do than just, ‘poof, I’m absolved!’ Whatever it is, you aren’t alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Meghan Tregellis says:

    I completely agree with the comments above .. and I think finally the old attitudes are changing toward mental illness. It is a real illness, not something you can talk yourself out of. It’s about brain chemistry, the nervous system and our hormonal system. And probably a whole bunch of other things that science hasn’t quite worked out yet. Anyway, it isn’t your fault. You are getting treatment, you have to view it as the kind of disease that requires long term/lifetime management. No one would berate an asthma sufferer from being on inhalers for the rest of their lives. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It shouldn’t bother me like it does but I can’t help thinking I did this to myself so I have no right using it as an excuse for how I feel… It’s messed up!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meghan Tregellis says:

        Aw, honey, no way… Mental illness is not self inflicted! You know I struggled with panic attacks (they’re resurfacing thanks to recent events…) but all I can do is follow my protocol to combat them, both naturally and pharmaceutically. I can’t just ‘ride them out’ and tell myself it’s all in my head. You should not feel guilty for experiencing symptoms – that’s what they are. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • I guess. I’m just so sick of all of it. There have been so many changes to get to a place where I’m better and I’m still not there. It gets to where I feel like there’s no help… no hope… for me. This is just my life… and I hate it so much.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Meghan Tregellis says:

            I can’t believe there’s no help or hope. I think you haven’t found it yet. In the meantime, focus on the things that make life a little better: your kids, your writing, your art. And if you know the stuff that triggers the worst of the feelings, try and avoid at all cost. Maybe its random, I don’t know… For me, I’ve been avoiding the news, it just makes me anxious and that’s the last thing I need right now!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I get it. I have been diagnosed with GAD, generalized anxiety disorder. I take medication and work on controlling irrational fears. My sister has diabetes. She takes medication and controls what she eats and exercises. I see no difference and I’m very vocal about my issues. Whatever your diagnosis, it’s real. But it’s not all of you, not only you. We love all of you! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t know why I feel so responsible for my issues… Logically, I know I shouldn’t but I still do. You are so sweet. Thank you, Diane. xo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s hard because you seem fine to people, like you shouldn’t struggle if they can’t see the rash or the break, etc. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me not to watch the news and I wouldn’t feel anxious! Or just take a deep breath. Yep, all better 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh god… I’ve heard the deep breath thing a million times. If that’s all it took, I’d be great! Seriously! WTF?? I think feeling like people assume it’s so easy to “fix it” only makes me feel more like I should be able to just fix it, you know? So frustrating! And yeah… I’m sure I seem fine to lots of people… so then I think it’s even harder for them to understand what’s really going on… so if I talk about it, they think I’m just blowing things out of proportion when it reality, I’m probably giving them a watered down version. I don’t think anyone knows how often I want to just give up and quit…!


  8. stephieann8 says:

    It’s a real thing. I was diagnosed nearly 3 years ago. I understand though what you are saying. I sometimes feel I’m just making excuses. Like I can just snap out of it. It sucks plain and simple ugh

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad that you are seeing someone who is helping! I remember your posts from a while ago about stopping seeing the person you were seeing because he thought you needed a break. But it’s good to find someone who works with you to help you! I think that society still puts such a harsh taboo on mental illness that it’s hard for those who are diagnosed with it to accept it as a legitimate reason to why they are the way they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sending hugs, because everyone else already said it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. myfaithincolour says:

    In the past I struggled with depression and I understand the shame or maybe even the hopelessness that you might be feeling. I realise now that I never needed to hide it. Just know that there are tons of us out here that are rooting for you. ❤️️Ash

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I understand I have clinical depression and I’ve only just started to rebilitate. I don’t think people understand that to the extent I have it , it’s actually a disability. There is certain things I probably won’t be able to do like drive. And it effects my attendance because my mood goes so up And down and panic attack and stuff. It’s not an excuse , I think you just have to take thing at your own pace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you — I appreciate you sharing this. I have wondered at times if anyone around me truly takes my issues seriously. It’s very frustrating feeling like those around me think I’m just making up the way I feel…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Na you shouldn’t think like that. Mental illness is VERY real. Every one gets low and depressed and stuff but some just get it more severely than others I think. Or atleast in my case I completely shut down. So maybe it’s just everyone gets low and stuff but some people get it to the extent they can’t function and that should be respected because like a physical illness you can’t just jump and be able to have a mobile life again and no one should expect you to it takes a lot of time.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. mandibelle16 says:

    As many have said, mental illness is indeed a very real thing and you are by far, not alone in feeling depressed, anxious or any of the symptoms that come with it. All you can do is try your best and take life a day at a time. The guilt you. feel is not your fault, it’s the fault of living in a society who even though it tries to acknowledge mental illness, does not understand how it feels and what it’s like, if they haven’t experienced it, or are not empathetic enough to research and help those close to them, who deal with mental illnesses. Also, I know finding good help and dependable and empathetic doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists etc is difficult and there is such a high demand for mental illness patients and their patients. I’m so happy you have found a great therapist. It’s helpful isn’t it? And yes a diagnosis is a double edged sword. Being labeled as always ‘ill’ is hard, but if it can lead to better care in the future. Hugs and I hope you feel less anxious and less physically depressed (and mentally) soon. Hugs 🤗 🙏🏻💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much. The person I’m seeing now isn’t a therapist… but she listens and hears me better than any therapist ever has!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mandibelle16 says:

        Well that’s just as good. Just having that someone is helpful. I think I told you for years I had a nurse who was so good with me. She’d take me for coffee and we’d chat, we became friends. Then, when I wasn’t allowed to have her as a nurse (and she became ill) I have had a mental health therapist who like your lady, you can just talk to and they understand and u can talk
        About things you cannot say to your family or loved ones and find better ways to deal with life situations. So Im pleased you have this now. How are other things?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Don’t worry it’s not your fault
    You are strong. So strong that you are able to openly talk about it, ready to hear and face whatever people say (though it doesn’t matter what other people say or do if they aren’t you near and dear ones). Most people don’t open their mouths in the fear of not being accepted or in the fear of being avoided.
    Lots of love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You are love, Sandra…

    Liked by 1 person

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