Living with you has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined. It's as if you wait to strike until I'm at my lowest, knocking me out and kicking me while I'm down. In the past few years, I have experienced thoughts and feelings that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
And yet... this struggle has brought tremendous growth, and I am grateful to you, my mental illnesses, for being a part of my story.
There's been so much pain. But there’s also been a reduction in my suffering as I’ve started to work through these feelings and experiences, instead of avoiding and ignoring them.
It has been harder than anything I've ever done. And it’s shown me how strong I am and that I can conquer anything.
There have been days where I’ve wanted just to give up and give in to every urge and behavior because it would have been “easier.” And each of the times I persevered has shown me how brave I am in the face of adversity.
Yes, there have been relationships loved and lost due to people not getting it or not wanting to. But I have also been introduced to incredible souls that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t begun recovery.
There have been experiences and opportunities I've missed out on because I was struggling. But deciding to recover has given me so many more chances at greatness that I would never have had otherwise.
Yes, I do get frustrated and disappointed and feel so low and hopeless I could scream. And I can also recognize the wonderful gifts that having mental illnesses have brought me. I can hold them together, and realize they can both exist in the same space.
It is so easy to resent the things I can’t change–my brain chemistry, my genes, the environment… whatever it is that could have caused you, my mental illnesses, to come into my life and stick around. It's too easy to get wrapped up in the "life is unfair, why me?!" mentality.
And it’s important to not stay too stuck in that mindset. The best way I’ve clawed myself out of the dark places has been to try to acknowledge the positive. The more I’ve done this, the better I’ve felt, even if it’s only temporary.
And so, yes, I would say that I am grateful for my situation, especially when it’s the hardest. I can confidently say that I have grown and changed for the better in the process of recovery. My life is certainly different than it was pre-mental illness or pre-recovery, and for that I am grateful.
I am strong, brave, and dedicated to creating a change, not just in my life but the lives of others. I am no longer afraid of hard times or the painful stuff. I have become a better person, and I couldn’t be more thankful for you, mental illness, for changing my life so much along the way.