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  • 市嶋温日

I am me, you are you, so we are okay

Fall of two years ago, I was diagnosed with a mental illness.

Living with mental illness is really difficult. The first challenge for me was to overcome the stigma attached to talking to others about what I was going through.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by understanding friends, which was such a big help in the process. But even before I got to the stage, I couldn’t and didn’t want to believe my condition, and I ended up sabotaging myself really badly.

In June last year, I went through a terrible experience.

My ears were ringing, and my insomnia was getting worse. It was even tiring to breathe.

I felt so suffocated that I just kept crying.

That was also when I started developing more apprehension about society. In the previous year, I learned a lot about gender, race, climate change, and the livestock industry (I was trying to study these topics when my mental health was in good condition). But because I learned so much in a short amount of time, I reached my limit. Even when I was feeling well, I’d feel so overwhelmed by random things I saw while taking a walk. For two months, I blamed myself and the people around me.

During that time, I couldn’t believe anyone, not even my family or myself. ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ

The condition lasted until July, and I was so beyond my limit, I was about to cross some kind of line. When people reach rock bottom, I guess they can bounce back like a ball and fly somewhere.

I casually started reading a book on cognitive behavioral therapy by a famous American clinical psychologist. I checked it out and began reading it; one day, I decided to wake up really early before sunrise and headed to the beach that was a bit far away.

As I walked, I felt nature. I felt the warmth and love of people.

I subconsciously set myself free from all the loneliness and self-pity I had felt during that time. Instead, I recognized the abundance of beautiful things and how blessed I am.

Even if you can’t force yourself to love yourself, you can still forgive yourself. People have different timings for growth but the desire for growth itself is enough.

You don’t have to keep blaming yourself for being who you are. So it’s okay. I’ll continue to love what matters to me with all my might at my own pace. I want to live peacefully: that’s the only goal and happiness that I have right now.

About the writer

Hello, my name is Haruhi. I was born and raised in Japan. Reflecting on my 19 years of living in Japan, I cannot confidently say that I have received enough education about mental health. That is why I believe there are many people in my generation who struggle due to their family dynamic, social status, race, gender, etc., so I wanted to share my experience here. I hope my clumsy but sincere writing can bring peace to someone’s feelings.

Translated by Mutsumi Ogaki

Edited by Emiru Okada

Graphic by Maya P. Kubota


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