Living with a mental illness

Ishaan Gupta
3 min readMay 22, 2021


Being mentally ill is tiring in more ways than one. Your entire existence becomes an act of walking around eggshells, even in your own head. Maybe, we all listen to music for the same reason of avoiding thinking or constantly use our phones for the sake of being engaged in every stupid thing in the world except for our own heads.

Things are always complicated and your identity is rarely consistent. You want to be surrounded by people at one moment and run away from them as soon as you are. Happiness comes in fleeting moments that almost always exist during intoxication, ultimately proving that it takes a great amount of dissociation to feel okay. You could be laughing at one second at the top of your lungs only to have a wave of sadness wash over you in the next.

You head constantly hurts. You try meditating and you try doing everything they tell you about. Every person with a mental illness has tried every mainstream advice in its absurdity to exhaust one more lead, to cross off one more thing of their list that won’t work. My friend tells me, “Is everything okay? Do you want to talk?” and I always answer with, “No, but it will be, in a while”

On most bad days, you find yourself on the sharper end of the stick only to wait it out as if you’ve tried fighting against it enough to know that there’s no use of it. It gets tiring to create because your art — a reflection of you — is always a slap in the face that you put out there out of your own free will. The entire act of creation itself becomes a huge statement as if you can hear the same line in the clatter of your fingers at work, “This is the most intimate expression of you on paper. And look what a disaster this is. Be embarassed”

But then, at the same time, there’s a strange, ridiculously absurd courage of facing it, as if it’s going to go away. At the same time, you’re afraid that if you do it enough, you become that guy. You become a caricature trying to clasp anything for the sake of recognition. Having a mental illness is hard in more than one way. You become an enigma to your folks, a universal messiah.

The roads of your city have seen alone on your walks and maybe know you best when they sense the jump in your walk. Your cigarette vendor knows exactly how you’re doing based on your purchases. Your bed knows your reluctance to face reality by the sheer amount of how much time you spend on it, locked away from the world in your little black room. Your phone knows how desperately you’re looking for a distraction in silly little things on the internet.

But you don’t know. You almost never know what’s wrong this time. And even if you do, you don’t know what to do about it. And even if you know that, sometimes it’s not in your power to do something about it.

It’s almost heartbreaking to live with the knowledge that all the things that know how you’re doing, are by nature, built to be inanimate. Built to be apathetic.



Ishaan Gupta

I want to help neurodivergent, high-achieving, creative professionals navigate consistency, productivity, success, and finding happiness as an adult

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