For many people, today might be a day off here in America as we recognize President’s Day (unless you work for mattress stores or car dealerships, then today is a day for sales!). I also find myself working this fine President’s Day, which has me thinking about days off and days on.
Because those of us living with mental illness, myself included, know that mental illness has its own schedule of off days and on days. When our mental illnesses take the day off, we feel like we are unencumbered, ready to take on the world. For me, I seem so full of energy that it is hard to imagine those dark days, the days when mental illness refuses to take time off.
Those days, the days when mental illness is ‘on’ are a challenge. Every task seems to take extra bouts of energy. Each speedbump that we come across is another anchor weighing us down, pulling us down into the darkness. Those ‘on’ days, when they are really bad, sometimes force us to take the day off, take mental health days as we recover from the storms raging within our own minds.
Whether our mental illness is on, or we are, at the end of the day it is reassuring to know that we can take control of our darkness, even if taking control means waiting for the darkness to pass. We are stronger than the darkness, and have survived all the days when it has been ‘on.’ And on or off, we can keep surviving.