It is what it is.
The past. The present. Life.
Life with a mental illness. No child grows up answering the question “What do you want to be?” with the response- “Mentally ill”. And yet that is what the future is for at least 1 in 4 around the world.
Mental illness is not all a person is– but it is in a way. It is their greatest weakness and biggest strength. It is often the source of their deepest disappointment and the catalyst for the most personal triumphs.
It can be a roadblock to happiness, life accomplishments, and relationships. It may be a daily battle and the most significant challenge of one’s life.
And yet is the reason they are a beautiful person. The pain they endure has given them compassion and empathy. The battle they fight gave them strength and courage to endure anything because they have faced the depths of despair in their own mind.
It is the loneliest experience one can have and yet connects souls in an indescribably intimate way when shared with others who’ve experienced it too.
It’s something I’ve come to accept. I don’t want to have one. Nobody does. But I do. And it is what it is.
I’ve learned to accept it. I’ve created a life that allows me happiness and peace with it, instead of trying to live a life like I didn’t have one. I spent decades dreading each day as I tried to find the strength to face life. I spent years self-medicating, self-sabotaging, self-loathing. Now I find things to smile about and be grateful for each day. I love my life and appreciate the people in it. I enjoy my own company and don’t hate myself.
I miss caring for others in my Healthcare job. I don’t miss the stress, anxiety, and despair of trying to face each day trying to act “Normal”. I work from home so I have no stress or dread to face the day. I have no guilt of disappointing others when I can’t get through the workday surrounded by people or depression as I spend my evening going through everything I said and did wrong because of my mental illness.
Some people say I need to get out more than it’s not normal to spend most of your time alone, that I’m not living because I’m not working or socializing outside of the house.
But if they really knew me they’d realize they couldn’t be more wrong because I am actually for the first time in my life happy with myself and life.
I can socialize and work online. I have meaning friendships where I interact more online than I ever would in person and I feel positive about the interaction rather than anxiety about having to talk and socialize in person or exhaustion afterward because it takes so much out of me to be in public.
You may think it’s abnormal but for the first time in my life I can breathe and enjoy it. I can go out on my terms instead of spending every minute of every day anxious as I count down to the next time I have to talk to or see people. I can live a life that makes me happy and I’m not depressed or stressed or anxious at all.
Some of the most amazing, bravest, incredibly beautiful people struggle with mental illness but it’s really the world’s attitude about it that is the problem.
If they could live their life with a mental illness, adapting to their own needs rather than spend every day trying to live life like they don’t have one…they could find happiness, peace, and finally, love every part of themselves.