I Accept Who I Am With a Mental Illness
By Gabriela

It doesn’t matter how medicated I am or how much therapy I do, I will always have depression and anxiety as my right and left hand men.  They don’t magically disappear.  Instead, I accept who I am, and they become manageable – but ya, sometimes the thought of living with this illness for the rest of my life really fucks me up.

It’s exhausting having to deal with the monsters

It’s hard not to think about how much easier life would be without having to deal with the monsters that live inside my brain.  Sometimes it’s really hard for me to accept the fact that I will have to play this game for many years to come.  It’s only been 7 years and to be quite honest, it’s exhausting.

When I’m feeling down, these thoughts are difficult to deal with.  But when I’m in a good state of mind, these thoughts actually encourage me.  I am encouraged to be open about my mental illness so that others don’t feel alone, but also so that I don’t feel alone – because there are still times that I do.

I’m blessed to have loved ones who accept who I am

I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who trust and believe in me.  Friends and family lift me up in my times of need and accept my illness for what it is.  I am blessed to have incredible people in my life.  However, the reason that they are able to help is that I let them.  Trust me, I know it is hard to open up.  It’s scary to be brutally honest about something that is difficult to understand yourself.  But as with all fears, the more you expose yourself to it, the easier it becomes.  Soon enough you may not even consider it to be something that scares you.  You don’t have to shout, “Hey, I’m mentally ill”, from the rooftops.  But if you can be open with just one person, you can begin on your road to recovery.

Thank God I have my parents

I was young when I first started seeing the signs and symptoms.  In 7th grade, we were learning about the properties of water and why the female body starts bleeding once a month.  We weren’t being taught about mental illness.  I was left trying to figure out why I was crying, gasping for breath, or shaking at inconvenient times of the day.  So, I didn’t have the education system on my side.  Thank God, I had my parents – conveniently, a nurse and a mental health councillor.

Even though it gets hard, and there are times when I think to myself, “Why should I even bother?”, I am okay with it.  I have accepted that this is a part of who I am, and I wouldn’t be me without it.  Because of the dark places I have been, I have learned to fully appreciate the good moments.  When I feel a genuine sense of happiness, I consume myself in that moment.  I study that feeling inside and out in the hope that I can go back to it when I need it.  Even tho it’s a bitch, this bitch has taught me many things, the most important being how to appreciate life while I can.

Please, ask for help

It is hard living with a mental illness, and it’s even harder having to deal with it on your own.  So, from one crazy person to another: please, ask for help.  I’m not gonna sit here and tell you through my screen that it’s an easy task.  But I will tell you that the sooner you speak up, the sooner this illness stops completely consuming you.

Reproduced with permission, originally published here.


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