Am I Unlovable? If someone asked us that question, our initial reaction is to jump to their defense and say, of course not. But if we ask ourselves the same question…we wouldn’t be so quick to disagree. This month, our OWLS prompt was on self-care and I jumped at the chance to write about the anime: Welcome to the N.H.K and my own experiences dealing with mental illness.
I’m scared of my mental illness. Am I Unlovable?
It’s a statement I hate writing and a sentence I hate thinking about. But it’s how I feel. And as my depression and anxiety become more chronic, my thoughts about falling in love become more negative and my belief of the chances of it happening for me start to grow slim. While I know this is a small part of me, I can’t help but feel as though there is a giant neon sign following me, warning people away.
The truth is, when I tell the people I’m dating, it usually starts out OK. They seem to understand and accept this is a part of me, but it isn’t all me. Yes, I have depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and PTSD. And that’s just a FEW of them. But those illnesses don’t make them me. I don’t love anime or writing because I have those things, I love them because I’m just me. My mental illness is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me.
But wait..there’s more
But the further we get down the path of being together and the more they realize how much it actually affects my everyday life, that is when I see them start to look for the exit. When they realize how much I have to stay in bed because of the pain from standing up that causes me to pass out, to the realization that I’m unable to be as physical as most “normal” people are.
I’ve had exes tell me they can’t make me feel better because I’m letting these “issues” consume me. I’ve had exes tell me they don’t feel as though they can tell me the truth about things because they’re worried it’ll send me into a tailspin. They’ll try to tell me how to manage my illnesses even though they’ve never experienced it themselves.
I don’t need someone to tell me what to do or how to do it when it comes to depression or anxiety. All I want — all I truly want — is someone just to love me through it. That’s the part that is sometimes lost on potential partners. I don’t need someone to “fix” me.
Thankfully, I’m now in a relationship with someone who understands. But the little voices of anxiety and depression love to whisper in my ear that it’s too good to be true. That this healthy relationship with someone who makes me feel safe and loved can’t possibly be real. That’s the darker side of depression…sometimes you’re unsure what’s real.
We don’t need to be told we’re broken.
I go to therapy and take my medication. I work hard each and every day to ensure I am doing all I can to prevent the bad days from occurring more often than not.
What I do need is for someone to just be there when things get hard. When those bad days come on and I can’t think of a reason why I should get out of bed, I want someone to just be there and tell me I can do it. I want someone to hold me when, in the middle of the night, I can’t breathe because my anxiety is out of control. And I want to be able to tell someone my deepest darkest secrets when it comes to my illness and not have them look at me like I have three heads.
I could be having just a normal, okay day and one little thought will cross my mind and cause me to start to panic. The thoughts will weigh me down with their burden and I’ll be unable to think of anything else. This is agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is a much-misunderstood condition, and sufferers are often mocked or told they should ‘get over it. It’s not, as is often thought, a fear of open spaces, but rather a fear of being in public places and away from the safety of the home. For me, even a 10-minute drive to Wal-mart is something I have to mentally prepare myself for weeks in advance. I only go twice a month and that’s about it for my social interaction. And it’s definitely not something I can just “get over”. I’m fine if I’m with someone I trust, but never by myself. Then the panic sets in even more. Home is safe. My room is safe.
The panic sets in if I have to leave my bed. It’s like the cold and heavy darkness wrapping its arms around your entire body. You can’t move or dare to breathe. Sure, I know on some level that it’s an irrational fear and the scenarios I imagine won’t happen THAT day…but the small chances are there. It makes it tough to live a healthy and active lifestyle. To even keep up with friendships or relationships. But I’m grateful for the friends I do have that understanding. Self-care includes choosing the right people to be around us.
Anime Characters with Mental Illnesses
With as much as I love anime, I’ve been excited to find a few characters that I can relate to who have issues with their mental health. The main one I can think of when it comes to mental illness is Welcome to the N.H.K that deals with a 20 something hikikomori/NEET named Satou Tatsuhiro.
More than half of you are probably wondering what a hikikomori is; So that explanation should probably come now before getting into the rest of this article. The dictionary definition of hikikomori is “a state or condition of acute social withdrawal”.
The number of people living the hikikomori or NEET (Not pursuing Employment, Education, or Training) lifestyle is increasing every day worldwide. The hikikomori is basically shut-ins that feel uncomfortable in presence of other people. They don’t leave their rooms/houses unless they absolutely have to and make just enough money through various means to survive and continue their hikikomori lifestyles.
The story is about a very serious subject matter but it is still full of humorous moments. That being said, the anime is also full of serious and sometimes very sad occurrences. If you happen to be an emotional person, be prepared to shed a few tears.
Satou’s Mental Health
Satou is your “typical” conspiracy nut shut-in (or what you would imagine one would act and feel like). While his hikikomori lifestyle doesn’t seem to be as severe as some other people’s, it is bad enough to keep him from functioning as a part of society and most of his ventures to the outside world seem to end with him becoming completely scared and freaked out. The question of “am I unlovable” seems to be one that could bother him. Mostly because he doesn’t want anyone close to him anyway.
I’m pretty sure he has panic disorder/social anxiety and possibly agoraphobia. As someone who deals with agoraphobia on a daily basis, his life seemed a bit easier than mine but I’m still a shut-in. As I mentioned before, my self-care routine is daily, even hourly. Self-care is important to all of us, especially to those with mental health issues.
And to answer the question of “Am I Unlovable?”…the answer is a big fat NO. You are loved and so important. More than you know.
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