Feel free to personalize this and give it to the less-than-understanding people in your life. I've been bawling my eyes out for 45 minutes. The kind a gut-wrenching grief you feel when a loved one dies. Writing this out has calmed me. I hope it can help you.
Imagine if you could never do anything right. If you were never good enough for the one you love. Imagine that you struggle to fight through ovewhelming anxiety - even with anti-anxiety medication - to complete the most mundane errands. And when you tell the person that you love that you were overwhelmed and are exhausted from these simple errands, he looks at you as if you are ridiculously incompetent.
Now imagine that you can't keep a job. Sure, you can get a job, but then lose it in a week, or a month. That you have never been able to kep a job longer than 14 months. That there have been entire years that you have been completely unable to work - or leave the house.
Imagine being trapped in your unpredictable mind, never knowing when the next sadness - as intense as losing a loved one. Or when the next rage so intense you understand how a person could kill their own child, or silent desparate desire to end it all in suicide.
Imagine the physical side effects, dizziness, exhaustion, headaches, nausea, even vomiting. Fatigue that causes you to sleep through entire days - even entire weeks.
Now imagine this torture interrupted by periods of euphoria. Intense energy, the ability to move mountains, to accomplish great things. Interrupted by heightened senses drinking in the beaty of the world.
Imagine being yo-yoed unpredictable between these, never knowing when you'll be able to do the simplest things. And imagine that by experiencing such joy and euphoria, you know exactly how much emotional pain you are in. Imagine a rush of irrational decisions with serious consequences. Risky sex with people you hardly know, spending entire months' worth of income on items I don't really want or need while bills pile up unpaid. Imagine energy so intense that you rarely need to sleep, and a to-do list so pressing you forget to eat for days at time. Imagine periodically falling into eating disorders which you have not control over, often gaining or losing 10 - 15 pounds in a single week. Imagine living life literally on the run, unable to slow down, speaking so fast others can't understand and finding yourself unable to drive remotely close to the speed limit. Imagine yourself hallucinating - fleeting images in your periferal vision, clearly seeing people and animals that aren't there.
Imagine experiencing all of these symptoms at once in a torture far more physically painful than vaginal birth without pain medication.
Imagine that trying numerous medications over 6 years, most making the illness worse and with debilitating side effects. Imagine knowing that finding treatment is unlikely, and if possible, it is a temporary solution for a life-long condition with no cure.
Now imagine how other people would see you. Withdrawing into sleep during pain, they see only a tremendously gifted, talented person with huge potential. And without the ability follow-through, you are left with nothing. Imagine hearing repeatedly if I could _________ as well as you can, I would quit my job and do that for a living. But you can't. Because you can't do the simplest tasks - address and mail a letter, check the balance on your bank account, or prepare a meal for weeks at a time. Your plants die. Your animals die because you are unable to care for yourself - much less anything or anyone else.
Imagine the life that other people expect you to live up to! And your total inability to do so. Do you receive compassion? No. You are called lazy, useless, a leech, a burden to the government and taxpayers that you rely on for treatment. Imagine a stigma so severe that you are afraid to tell them you are legitimately ill.
Imagine that for 20 years, you've been told to "suck it up," "just do it," "quit putting on an act" and other insulting and torturous phrases from people who can never understand the hell that is your life. I didn't choose this. I didn't make this happen.
I want nothing more to be normal, to be able to work to earn income, to be able to live independently, to be able to follow-through (with anything), to be able to complete (anything). I want to know that I am not in a relationship because of his pity, his sense of obligation, or just because the sex is good.
I want the same life-span others expect to live - I want back the 10 years I am likely to lose because of this illness. I want my health. I want a chance at a life that has a purpose, a life that is more than waiting until I die.