Dealing with mental Illness is a struggle beyond words. It has transformed my outlook on life.
Between the time that I woke this morning and the moment right before I typed the first word of this post, my moods changed innumerable times. I’ve visited thoughts of suicide, creative musings and even wondered what I would make for dinner today, yes, all within a span of a few hours. I kid you not, some of us have struggles in which you could never imagine.
These struggles have changed us, however, strengthened us. No longer do we see the world in the same way. Mental illness has transformed us from mere humans into tragically enlightened individuals. I guess this is a little hard to understand for some of you, but if you suffer from mental illness, you will soon get the idea.
My pain made me see the world differently. It’s beyond spiritual.
Triggers and I don’t mean for guns
Because of mental illness, I have learned about triggers. One of the most uncomfortable and awkward experiences is dealing with this prompt – a trigger that can transport you into the past and bring up horrible circumstances better forgotten – all within seconds. A trigger opens the door to your fears, your anxieties and pain, and it can be anything, anything at all. It’s like a switch!
Dealing with mental illness, in this manner, has changed me, helped me recognize triggers and how to deal with them, in me and in those I love. I am always poised and ready, watching for indicators of an upcoming trigger. I have learned to avoid certain topics of conversation, certain people and even places that I used to love. This keeps triggers to a minimum. Dealing with mental illness has helped me learn my limitations.
No more judgments
Dealing with mental illness has helped me see the world with new eyes. I have to say, writing this post is sort of difficult, seeing as I have dealt with symptoms of mental illness my entire life. As I have grown, however, I have changed. Before, I passed judgments on others, especially ones who seemed worse.
Before my illness worsened and other illnesses were added to my diagnosis, I was judgmental of others. I was a typical girl, running with wrong crowds, and talking about those around me. As my mental illness progressed, I started to see things in a new way. I started to understand the actions of others and how human hearts were behind every choice that was made. We all do things for a reason, plain and simple. There should be no judgments, else we are judged in turn. This made me change how I viewed the world.
Strength to stay mentally and physically strong
Over the years of taking medications for mental illness, I’ve noticed a deterioration in my physical and mental health. Some of this decrease comes from aging, I am aware of that. But, I have learned the differences between normal age-related issues and abnormal changes. I have learned that I must work twice as hard to maintain what was once easy for me.
I now work in strange routines that help strengthen my mental abilities. I play games, read and write, of course. As far as physical improvements go, I exercise as much as possible to retain some semblance of my youth. It’s not perfect, but by dealing with mental illness, I have gained a strength to carry on that I never thought I had.
My thoughts on disability has changed
When my father became disabled, it was because he was injured in the Korean War. It was a physical disability and so it seemed like a normal occurrence. He fought for benefits and won after a few years of fighting. I never thought that disabilities could include mental disorders. Dealing with mental illness has taught me to think differently about disabilities and welfare.
Opening up about this topic is hard to do because it hits close to home. What I used to understand about disabilities is not what I have grown to understand as a middle-aged woman. Mental disabilities are real and should be seen as reputable conditions with limitations. It is difficult, even impossible for some people to work a normal job with mental illness. I have gained such insight on this topic by dealing with my own mental illness and my own limitations.
Making the most of my day
Over time, I have learned how much mental illness can break you down, both physically and mentally. I find myself sleeping sometimes all day, and on other days, not able to rest at all. I am stricken by fatigue, in one form or the other, almost every day. I have learned that I must make the most of my up-time in order to get things done. Dealing with these issues have made me more conservative about my time.
For instance, I may sleep all day because of depression and be sick the next day due to my physical ailments. This means on the third day, if I feel good, I have to work hard to catch up with what I haven’t done. So I make sure to plan ahead on these days, cooking extra food and organizing paperwork. Mental illness has taught me to create patterns in order to maintain a semi-normal existence. I am more inventive and constructive, finding shortcuts and improvements which aid in productivity.
I’m going natural and getting to the root of the problem
Dealing with mental illness has changed my thoughts about health and healing. Gradually, I am turning away from traditional medicines and spending more time learning about the natural alternative. Why? Because natural alternatives work toward permanent healing while traditional medicines are symptom relief based.
I search for solutions for insomnia, mood, nausea, headaches and more. I have been successfully able to quell stress induced headaches, not by relief but by finding and eliminating the source. I am currently working on eliminating causes of my digestive issues as well. I have changed in how I approach my health and continue to change every day.
There are so many ways that mental illness has changed my life. Even though it is a daily struggle, I have changed for the better. Mental illness, while unfortunate, has taken me further from my comfort zone, forced me to try harder and never give up. For every day that I say “NO!” to failure, is another day I can fight and teach others how to fight along with me.
I am strong, I am resilient and I shall always try again. I stand with you on your journey and your struggles.
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