My Mental Illness Defines Me And That's Okay

My Mental Illness Defines Me And That's Okay

My mental illness is a part of who I am and my identity, and there's nothing wrong with that

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I'm Mya, and I have Type 2 Bipolar Depression and an anxiety disorder. You're probably expecting me to say something now about how these things don't define me and how they're just something I deal with, but that's not the case. I am mentally ill and mental illness is a part of my identity, and I have finally come to term with that. Not everyone feels the way I do, and I know that, and that is okay. However, for me, mental illness is a part of who I am, and that is okay too.

For a long time, having mental illness was something I didn't want to talk about. People close to me knew I struggled, but I never shared the full story. I didn't like admitting just how hard it was. It was especially hard for me to talk about with new people, which probably didn't help when I had to cancel plans last minute because I couldn't get out of bed. This year, once I started talking about my mental illness and explaining to people how it impacts my lifestyle and the way my brain works, it became a lot easier for me to accept that I am mentally ill, and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me.

My mental illness impacts every single thing I do. From the moment I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep, the effects are there. I take medication, so the effects are regulated and lessened, but life isn't a cake walk because of it. People will try and help, telling me things like "there's nothing to be scared of" or "it's going to be okay, don't worry". It helps in the sense that there's someone there for me and I can tell they care, but I'm also always going to plan my day down to the minute because I get anxious about forgetting things. However, knowing these effects helps me cope. I can be proactive and know what is going to be harder for me and find ways to adapt.

Accepting mental illness as a part of my identity has, most importantly, helped me cope with the fact that it is not going away. My mental illness is all chemical and it is going to impact me every day for the rest of my life. Before, I would try to tell myself that my feelings were temporary. I would try to tell myself I just need to get through this day, this week, or this year and then it would be all over and I'd be happy. But that isn't the case. Mental illness is a part of me and accepting that has only helped me to focus on the actual problems and triggers as opposed to "waiting it out".

I know not everyone feels the same way about their mental illness. I know some people consider it to be a minor aspect of their lives that they have to deal with, but I don't think it's a bad thing either for me to identify with being bipolar and having anxiety. Everyone's experience is different but for me, accepting mental illness has helped me stop denying its presence and start working to move forward, despite it.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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20 Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship As Told By 'Sherlock Holmes'

Having Trouble In Paradise?

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No relationship is perfect. For the most part, a good relationship makes you feel euphoric, loved, respected, safe, and free. There are seven fundamental elements, including good communication, respect, trust, acceptance, compatibility, affection, and patience needed for a healthy relationship.

Good communication allows people to talk openly, without fear of being judged. Respect helps maintain equality in the relationship. Additionally, it promotes compassion and sympathy between two people. Trust lets a couple count on each other and feel safe.

In return, you build credibility and consistency with each other as your relationship becomes more and more transparent. Acceptance makes people appreciate their partners and accept them for who they are, faults and all. However, this does not extend to abuse in any form.

Compatibility brings people together and strengthens their emotional bond. Affection causes two partners to feel special, wanted, and acknowledged. Patience allows people to feel free. Pushing someone to do something they do not want to do allows causes that person to feel pressured and become they are not.

Mixed together, these seven elements create a strong, healthy long-lasting relationship.

Therefore, a toxic relationship lacks many, if all, of these elements. As a result, a toxic relationship typically makes you feel exhausted, broken, and miserable.

However, toxic connections ring multiple alarms. Sadly, many people never hear them.

Here are some of "alarms" to help you recognize a toxic relationship:

1. You are filled with insecurity. 

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You are questioning whether anyone likes you. Your partner actively tries to cut you off from your support network of friends and families. Also, nobody wants to hang out with you when you are with your partner.

2. The relationship has become boring. 

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You are lonely when you are with your partner. You no longer enjoy his/her company.

3. The atmosphere is loaded with negative energy. 

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Your partner sees himself/herself as having a much higher "mate value" than you. They think you are lucky to have them, but not vise versa.

4. Constantly complaining, making ultimatums, and yelling out commands, your partner drains your energy. 

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Your partner is all take and no give. (S)he is demanding and never takes "no" for an answer.

5. Nothing is ever your partner's fault. 

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Your partner is ALWAYS right and NEVER wrong. When you argue, one or both of you always get defensive. You can never acknowledge that the other person has some valid points. When you argue, you just blame each other rather than accepting some blame.

6. Your partners always want to control what you are doing. 

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(S)he never wants to do anything you want, making you think of several friends whom you would rather be in a relationship with.

7. You always seek acceptance from your partner. 

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You constantly are doing thing to "impress" your partner. Yet, (s)he never seems interested or proud of you when you experience success.

8. ​​​You are giving more into the relationship than what you are getting. 

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You feel like you are the only one that makes an effort in the relationship, causing the relationship to seem one-sided and like a rollercoaster.

9. The atmosphere is hostile. 

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You are too scared to confide in your partner. If you were to reveal something you are sensitive about, you are not sure how they would react.

10. Your partner causes you to lower your standards. 

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You feel nauseated about who you have become while with your partner. You can identify ways your partner has negatively influenced you. As a result, (s)he has involved you in unethical activities, causing you to feel ashamed of what you have done.

11. Your partner never treats you with respect. 

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(S)he doesn't listen to you. As a result, you do not feel able to get your partner's attention when you want to talk about something important.

12. You receive no support form your partner. 

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When your partner is listening, (s)he never takes into consideration what you are saying or feeling. Your partner is dismissive of your interests and projects. (S)he judges the things you do by how important (s)he perceives them to be, rather than how important they are to you.

13. You are always on your guard as your relationship presents constant challenges. 

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Your partner gets mad at you when you disagree with him/her. When you and your partner disagree, (s)he insists you do things his/her way or leave. It is their way or the highway.

14. Your partner diminishes your self-worth. 

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(S)he does not see you as a priority. As a result, (s)he makes jokes about leaving you or teases you about what his/her "second" or "next" partner will be like.

15. You are afraid of your partner seeing you in public with other people. 

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You dread coming home after work or school because of how much stress your partner causes you. As a result, you often spend time at Starbucks to procrastinate coming home to your partner.

16. You believe you would be nothing without your partner. 

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Despite thinking about how disrespectful, cold, untrustful, and inconsistent your partner is, you feel compelled to tell him/her how wonderful (s)he is.

17. You feel like you have betrayed your own morals and values. 

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You have changed for the worst. You feel worse about yourself as a person than when you first started the relationship. You are less confident and can see fewer positive qualities about yourself.

18. You are constantly corrected and judged. 

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Your partner implies that you are stupid or that they are "the smart one" in the relationship. (S)he tries to dissuade you from trying something new because you probably would not understand it.

19. Your partner manipulates you with gifts and compliments.  

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Your partner uses "love bombing" to gain your trust and love. (S)he regularly does something, such as giving compliments, flattery, or promises. Moreover, these actions are what you use to justify the relationship and your partner's "love" for you.

20. There is no trust in your relationship.

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Your partner always checks your phone and asks where you are going or hanging out with. As a result, you feel as though you must get their permission before you do anything. At the same time, you can not trust anything your partner says or does, causing you to constantly wonder what they are doing behind your back.

If any of this sounds familiar, it is time to make some changes.

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