Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 79

This is the 79th story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Philip has had many struggles since he was young, but has a heart of gold. This is his story:

Philip is from New York and he has a passion for learning. He said, “Anything that can be learnt I want to know it.” He also enjoys listening to music or playing music of his own. Philip taught himself ukulele, and wants to learn to play the cello. He is fond of playing video games and researches into why the characters in the games are the way they are. Philip doesn’t have any huge future goals, he instead makes small ones. He said, “This coming December I am going to try and build my first ever PC.” He has been diagnosed and still struggles depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Social Anxiety. Philip originally was forced into therapy after a failed suicide attempt. During the summer after his freshman year he saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed medication, but is still in the process to see which one works better for him. Unfortunately he stopped therapy because it is terrifying, but with a more solid support structure he is willing to give it another try.

Philip has dealt with many symptoms, he said, “My depression makes me feel lonely and I can rarely feel a connection between myself and my peers. I disconnect myself from my feelings and most of the time I just find myself feeling devoid of all emotions.” Philip is constantly challenging himself to just to shake someone’s hand or touch something unfamiliar. He says, “I wash my hands way too many times to count throughout the day and patterns dominate my daily thoughts and actions. My OCD revolves around the number 8, so things must be done in multiples or add up to 8. My bed used to have two sheets on it so I would make my bed 4 times each morning. (2 sheets x 4 = 8).” At times Philip has to turn on and off certain appliances if it doesn’t feel right. He is an outgoing introvert, he wants to meet people, but is constantly dreading that they will find his faults and hate him forever.

This has affected Philip’s life immensely. He has resorted to self-harm to cope. He said, “I used to cut the bottoms of my feet, and being a student and an avid martial artist I walked around a lot causing a lot of pain. Once my feet became too heavily scarred and I began to cut my hips. Wearing a belt for martial arts and just in general I would purposely tie it super tight inflicting more pain. Now I have moved onto my arms and chest. The reason I would cause my body so much pain is because when you can feel nothing, you can always feel pain.”

Philip’s relationships also became affected. He has a difficult time finding friends, and the friendships he has are strained. He said, “My family life is weird coming from an adoptee, and my parents have NO idea how to help. They mean well, and read a lot about how to help, however, it is still very challenging. I try hard, and I mean very hard to make valuable friendships but it is very hard when all these personal things get in the way, especially when I have a hard enough time trusting and opening up to people.” Because of this Philip doesn’t know what to feel, and is now desperately trying to feel something.

The turning point for Philip was realizing how little he had left in himself. He feels the poet Neil Hilborn traps this meaning perfectly in his poem The Future. At the moment Philip doesn’t have a strategy to overcome his mental illnesses and because of this he is considering to go to therapy again. He said, “For the most part I am very passive about my disorders and do the bare minimal to get by. But keeping myself busy all the times can help me avoid overthinking.” Philip has a hard time asking for help and accepting help from others. He said, “I hope to find someone who is stubborn enough to stick around and help me even when I refuse it. Maybe one day.”

The lesson that he has learned from this ordeal is that:

“Treat everyone you meet with love and respect, try and make them smile, because you never know type of war they are fighting.”

Even his outlook has changed, he said, “I’ve never really had a positive outlook on life, more of a realistic outlook. I know life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but I also realized that it isn’t overcast and dreary either.” Philip wonders what he would be like without these disorders, but he thinks he wouldn’t recognize himself.

This is a poem Philip wrote about depression:

10 things I learned from dealing with depression

  1. Fuck you depression. Who gave you the right to control my life? This is my story and I will write it how I want. I can be that lone alpha who’s looking for his pack. Better yet, I’ll be that rich CEO who don’t need no help.
  2. Actually.. It’s okay to ask for help. Especially when you need it. And I know. I know that it may seem scarier than anything that has come before it. And that’s okay. Let yourself be vulnerable.
  3. Let yourself be vulnerable, in front of other people. Let the room fill up with mutual sadness, like our mutual hate for one Donald Trump.
  4. It’s okay to hate Trump. I hate him too. And your ex, it’s okay to hate him as well. In fact. There are days where it’s okay to hate every single being on this earth. But when you hit that point, know that I love you.
  5. Learn to love yourself. In a world dominated by hate crimes and hatred towards anyone who doesn’t look like us. It is important and essential to love yourself. Even if you don’t want to, or feel you deserve it. Learn to be accepting of love and give it back when you can.
  6. When you feel down. Like all the water from all the major seas, oceans, lakes, and this specific glass of water are being thrust onto you from all directions, and it feels like your drowning in a room full of air. When you feel down, know it’s okay to take time for yourself. Do not rely on food or friends, or season 4 of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, that will only make you lonelier when they’re gone. Focus on yourself. You are the only constant in your life when all around you the only constant is change.
  7. It’s okay to fall in love. It’s an inevitable fault of the universe. Let yourself. It’s okay to beat this with someone. Some will. Some will not. But having someone who loves you certainly will help.
  8. Let go of the things that don’t matter. What happened five years ago doesn’t matter. What happened yesterday you cannot change. What matters is that you learned from it.
  9. So here you are. With me, and together we are here. Experiencing and clawing our way through this enigma we call life. And at the end, we don’t get much out of it. But it’s the experiences, and the pure act of touching someone else’s life. That makes it all worth it. You are worth it.
  10. Tomorrow is a new day. So I challenge you to live until the sunrise. Whether that’s 4 seconds, 6 minutes, 12 hours, or 24. Live to the fullest. Because eventually the earth will rotate enough so that the sunlight falls perfectly onto our little town. And..I will see you.

I hope from the bottom of my heart, that Philip is able to recieve the help he deserves. Help me make a difference by sharing your story. If you or anyone you know needs a safe place to vent out and recieve advice feel free to become a member of the Mental Illness Recovery Series Group on Facebook.

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