Some people say that their mental illness is a bad thing and I can totally understand why they say that, because I have said the same thing at various times but I'd love to let you see the positive effect it's had on me and what it's taught me so that, perhaps, you can learn to love yours too.
The 10 Things My Mental Illness Has Taught Me
1) How resilient I am
If nothing else, I've learnt resilience. Living with a mental illness means you have to know what is happening to you and how to deal with it.
2) How many other people suffer like I do
When you're getting to grips with your specific mental illness, you search out people who also suffer the same because it's easier to talk to them as they know how you feel. It's always good to learn from those who have been where you are - you may pick up some tips along the way for how to cope with your situation too.
3) Find a community
Whilst you're searching out people who suffer like you do you're bound to find a community within which you can express yourself and surround yourself with people who lift you up, post positive affirmations or quotes, helplines for when you need them and generally making a safe space for you to come to when you need them.
4) How to express myself better when I'm suffering
Sometimes when you're in the midst of an anxiety attack or a depressive state it can be hard to vocalise or articulate our feelings to those who are trying to help. When we're out of it though we can then go ahead and find the best ways to discuss our feelings with people and let them in on how our minds work. Pretty cool huh?
5) How to identify my triggers
Having suffered from social anxiety and brain fog means that I am able to better understand what triggers me and how I can avoid them. Sometimes this can feel impossible, but I've found that actually, it is important to stand your ground and make your immediate life a better environment to be in. Being able to understand what these are, ultimately makes us stronger and pretty amazing, am I right?
6) To Find new hobbies
I have found that there are certain hobbies which help ease my mind and can take it somewhere else which is a godsend when my brain is going at 100 miles an hour! I always feel better doing yoga and swimming really help me so I actively choose to do these hobbies as often as possible to help quieten my mind as much as possible!
7) To find new friends
Sometimes, unfortunately, people who were in your life for years may suddenly disappear when you start suffering with mental ill health. As sad as this may be, it can actually be a good thing because it allows room for better, more positive people to come into your life. I've certainly found that there are people out there who definitely want to be your friend and help you through the bad times.
8) How to recognise toxicity in your life
As well as being able to say goodbye to friends who may not have your best interests at heart, you can quickly learn who or what it is that is toxic in your life. Be that friends, family, particular places or even your workplace - you can quickly and easily recognise this and either take yourself out of a situation or cut that person/s out of your life.
Your mental health is too precious to be surrounded by anything which makes you anything less than 100%!
9) That it's OK not to be OK
One thing I have definitely learnt is that it's totally OK to not be OK. Nobody is asking you (or should!) to be 100% all of time time. With everything in life, there's bound to be ups and downs and it's only natural to be feeling less than your best at certain times along the way.
Allow yourself to feel sad/down/anxious but also be aware of this feeling and learn to pull yourself out of it. Learning your triggers helps massively with this. Making a note of when you feel certain things so you can learn to avoid them or just be ready for when one comes along.
10) Being alone doesn't mean I'm weak
And lastly, the need to want/need to be alone doesn't mean I'm anything less than the strong woman I was five minutes ago. After all, Greta Garbo said it best: "I want to be alone".
I hope this has been helpful to you, all I want to do with these posts is let you know that whatever you're feeling is perfectly fine and that there are always people out there who genuinely want the best for you and will look out for you when times are tough.
I hope I can be one of those people for you.
Love, Sarah xoxoxo