Accepting Who I Am... A person with mental illness
By Gabriela

It doesn’t matter how medicated I am or how much therapy I attend, I will always have depression and anxiety as my right and left hand men. They won’t magically disappear, instead they become manageable. Sometimes the thought of living with them for the rest of my life really messes me up. Accepting who I am, a person with a mental illness, is difficult, but not doing so would not be helpful.

Accepting Who I Am... A person with mental illness

Difficult to accept the fact

It’s hard not to think about how much easier life would be without having to deal with the emotional monsters that live inside my brain. There are times when it’s really difficult for me to accept the fact that I will have to play this game for many years to come. It’s been seven years since I was diagnosed 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, they actually give me hope. I am heartened to be open about my mental illness so that others don’t feel alone. It also helps me not to feel so isolated, because there are still times that I do.

Incredible people in my life

I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who trust and believe in me. There are friends and family who lift me up in my times of need, and accept my illness. I am blessed to have these incredible people in my life, but the reason that they are able to help is because I let them.

It is hard to open up, and it’s scary to be brutally honest about something that is difficult to understand yourself. As with all fears, the more you expose yourself to it, the easier it becomes. Soon, you may not even consider it to be something that frightens you. You don’t have to shout, “Hey I’m mentally ill!” from the rooftops. However,  if you can trust just one person, then you can begin on your road to recovery.

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 bleeds once a month. We weren’t being taught about mental illness, and I was left trying to figure out why I was crying, gasping for breath, or shaking at inconvenient times during the day. I didn’t have the education system on my side, but thank God, I had my parents. One was, conveniently, a nurse and the other a mental health counselor.

Speak up

Even though it gets hard, and there are times when I think to myself, “Why should I even bother?”, I am okay with my life. I have accepted that mental illness is a part of who I am, and that 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 then study that feeling inside and out, hoping that I can go back to it when I need it. Even though it’s a bother, this way of life has taught me many things. Perhaps the most important being how to appreciate life while I can.

It is hard living with a mental illness, and it’s even harder having to deal with alone. From one “crazy person” to another I would say to you to please, ask for help. I’m not going sit here and tell you through my screen that it’s an easy task.  I will tell you that the sooner you speak up, the sooner this illness stops completely consuming you.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here: My Teenage Brain

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