WANT A FEEL FOR MENTAL ILLNESS? THEN SET YOUR ALARM TO 3AM.

In fact, set it at 3am for the next week. And when it goes off, force yourself to stay awake for two or three hours before drifting off for an hour or so before having to force yourself out of bed for work.

After a day or two, you’ll be buggered. After three or four, you’ll feel shattered. And after that, you’ll feel like the walking dead.

You’ll be irritable and your ability to concentrate will be shot. You’ll avoid interaction with others, lack motivation and generally feel hopeless.

But don’t be fooled, this isn’t mental illness. You just need a good night’s sleep. And all you have to do to feel better is turn that stupid alarm off.

To really know how it feels to have mental illness, firstly, appreciate that you cannot turn the alarm off no matter how much you’d like to. It’s beyond your control.

Now add a sickening sadness or chronic worry that permeates everything you do. Add tears that may surprise you. A healthy dose of guilt, even though it’s clearly not your fault. And thinking that’s so negative you may even wonder if it’s really all worthwhile.

So, the next time someone suggests that depression is just feeling a bit blue or anxiety is just worrying too much, suggest they set their alarm. It won’t give them the full picture, but it will be a good start.

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