I thought this morning I could write a long list of positives about being mentally ill. It can feel like things are difficult, dark, challenging and joyless at times but you become moulded by your experience and great things do happen as a result. So I am going to list the great things below in a chronological order as far as I can remember. Attitude of gratitude I was told!
Discovering a spiritual way of living that involves much less of ME and much more of YOU
Asking for help is OK
Giving up drink and drugs as a coping mechanism
Giving up smoking as a coping mechanism
Learning that rigorous honesty is actually good for you
Embracing kindness and compassion in relation to others
Being less judgemental
Learning to really listen not just pretend to listen
Accepting that being mentally ill isn't the end of the world, it is just the beginning of a different world
Learning self care and mindfulness
Being unafraid to speak my truth as it might actually help someone else
Mental health is just the same as being a "Normal person" but with certain aspects of my brain volume turned up. Your volume is currently turned down.
It's OK to not be the same as everyone else
Humour is a God send.
Toxic people are dangerous to my well being
Being sensitive is not a handicap
I am able to teach my children about mental illness and foster emotional maturity and communication skills
I am motivated even though it goes on holiday sometimes. I would not have come this far would I if I had none!
Having low self esteem is not a permanent state of being
Intrusive thoughts are not real even though they feel like they are
Everything is temporary. Nothing remains the same. Things always change.
Being the best, having a career, being loaded and being fashionable are not important to me
I don't need to measure myself by you or anyone else, being me is enough
Even though some people are mean and hideous, most people are actually lovely
I cannot change everything in the world, but I can change me and I can help one person at a time
Swearing is actually really useful at times
I have skills, although being kind doesn't necessarily get you a job but never mind!
Taking positive risks and trying new things even though it feels really uncomfortable
Tolerance of other people. It's not their fault, and even if it is, I can still let it go
I accept that I function differently to other people and I can adjust where necessary
It's OK not to have all the answers
Killing myself is not the answer even if my head tells me it is
Live in the now
Being fired in the crucible moulds and develops you. You become something other than you expected but it isn't always a disaster. When I was 18, and I envisaged what life in my 40's would be like, I'm sure this wasn't it. But actually I think that is probably how it ought to be. It is OK to not have a plan or be sure about where you might be going. I am a work in progress, probably more Picasso than Turner, but still a creation. It will be OK.