To My Mental Illnesses, I'm Actually Grateful For You

To My Mental Illnesses, I'm Actually Grateful For You

I'm strong, brave, and dedicated to creating a change.
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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.




Cover Image Credit: SONAH Photography

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
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This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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15 Winter Dates For Couples Who'd Rather Snuggle Indoors Than Step Foot Outside

Do I wanna build a snowman? Uhhhh NO!

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Christmas time in New England can get pretty damn cold. I mean, we do have a few warm days, but for the most part, it's cold, windy, and sometimes snowy out. Now, if you're anything like me and you don't like the cold, typical Christmas dates might not be for you, but luckily there's plenty of cute dates that don't involve venturing out in the freezing abyss.

So get your hot chocolate, eggnog, ugly sweaters and festive pajamas ready because here are 15 fun winter dates that don't involve you and your partner leaving the house at all.

1. Ginger bread house competition

2. Classic Christmas movie marathon

3. Hallmark movie marathon

Only because my boyfriend's mom LOVES them.

4. Okay so really just any Christmas movie marathon.

SANTAAAAAA

5. Making Christmas ornaments

6. Paper snowflake making competition

7. Baking and decorating (and eating!) Christmas cookies

8. Dance around to Christmas music

9. Make each other a new stocking

10. Write a letter to Santa

Super silly but super cute.

11. Take cute Christmas pictures

Giphy

Perfect time for those ugly Christmas sweaters or Christmas pajamas.

12. Decorate the Christmas tree

And you know the rest of the inside of the house.

13. Wrap presents together

14. Hang a mistletoe and kiss under it

15. Stay up tracking Santa

Don't forget to leave milk and cookies out for him, and carrots out for the reindeer.

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