~We often find that, although we hate our mental illnesses with a passion, there are moments when we can feel in love and deeply attached to our illness. I have experienced this with my eating disorder and self harm, and to some extent depression too. This can make recovery from these issues particularly challenging~
“I feel like I belong in my illness.” It is where I’m meant to be. The real world is too hard to cope with and I am left with my poor mental health and unhealthy coping mechanisms that I can just sink into and soothe myself, escaping from the world around me. Sometimes relapse can feel like coming home.
“My illness is the only interesting thing about me”. Often we feel as if we were chosen to be sick. It sounds bizarre but sometimes we can feel special for having an illness. And once we are deep into it, it is so all-consuming that we don’t have anything else going on in our lives to love. And we may have distanced our loved ones so much that we are isolated and alone with our illness. It feels as if it is the only thing we can rely on.
“No one will care when I’m better” Being sick often means lots of appointments and much intrusive therapy and social care. The attention, although sometimes unwanted, reinforces the idea that being sick means we are more loved. This is not true, but when our perception is poor, it can feel like it.
“My illness is my friend”. Mainly applies to eating disorders but I feel this when everything thing in my life seems to be going wrong and my ED is the only thing I have. It is a constant. It feels loyal when everyone around me is not. But it’s fake. It’s a lie designed by the illness to make me fall in deeper and trust it. And it’s not true at all because, even though you may be unable to see it, it is not your friend and you have plenty of people who love you and care about you in the world. Your illness is not one of them.