Thursday, 18 April 2013

  • You are not your mental illness. It does not define you, it is not who you are. There is infinitely more to you than the chemical imbalances inside of your head, the notes written down in a doctor’s file, the medication they prescribe you. Refrain from staring blankly at the Wikipedia page for your diagnosis when you can’t sleep. You will not find yourself there.
  • I found that separating my identity from my illness made things easier. I was not an anxious person, I was a person with an anxiety disorder. Therefore any steps I make towards recovery became a medical aid, which helped  with the shame I felt of ‘not being able to cope' like 'normal' people do.
  • On that note – do not compare yourself to other people. When you hear of others misfortunes you do are not overwhelmed with hatred for their ‘inability to cope’, and they are not the same to you. Your Mother is not ashamed of you. You do not have to avoid making eye contact with her, or anyone else. This isn't a weakness.
  •  This is not all it will ever be, as much as it may seem that way. There is more. The darkness does lift, I promise you, it just takes time.
  • Depression and anxiety, in my experience, creeped up on me over a number of years until I found myself in a hole that my arms were too weak and embarrassed to pull myself out of. Negative thought becomes a habit – it becomes hard to fathom any other way of looking at the world. My counsellor told me that cognitive behavioral therapy would “make me question my disordered thought process” which confused me more than frightened me. What disordered thought process? This is just the way I am, what possible other ways is there to look at the world other than bleakly and hopelessly? I suppose mental illnesses’ greatest trick is convincing you that it’s not there whilst completely taking over your life.
  •  You do not need to ask permission to reinvent yourself. You do not owe it to anybody to constantly live up to the image they have created of you in their own mind.
  •  Do not be ashamed of your sadness, or keep quiet for fear of ‘making a fuss’; do not underestimate the importance of your wellbeing. Cry without shame. Reach out. Just because others “have it worse” does not make your problems invalid.
  • Nobody is laughing at you. People aren’t scrutinising you as you walk down the street any more than you are them. They’re thinking about work, their friends, buying milk on the way home. If not they may be just as anxious as you are.
  •    Cling to any non-self-destructive joy you find and nurture it. It will blossom.