What My Mental Illness Taught Me About Life
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My mental illness has taught me more about life than I could ever imagine. How is it that something so terrifying and awful turned out to be the most significant source of inspiration? I asked myself this question over and over. At the time, my struggles were just an unexpected hurdle, I couldn't seem to overcome.

How could I once be a perfectly happy little girl, but now I was too sad to get out of bed? I did not know what I felt because the feeling was too intense. As a result, I just lived as if I was on airplane mode, only performing essential functions, so I didn't have to deal with my emotions. Essentially, I hid from myself.

The world appeared in shades of black and white, and I couldn't seem to care enough to look for the color anymore.

I woke up every morning with the sole purpose of just getting through the day to simply survive to do it all over again. I was existing, I was not living. However, I learned the purpose of life through experiencing days like these. I thought about the age-old questions such as the reason I am here and what I have to offer to the world. I was not meant to experience life as half the person I could be.

I knew life had to be more than indistinguishable shades of grey. The pursuit of finding the happiness I was missing taught me that I am stronger than I ever imagined. You genuinely do not know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have to survive. Choosing to keep going when every cell in my body was ready to give up taught me that I could overcome it no matter the situation I faced. I may not know how I would survive, but I knew that I will.

Anything can change within seconds, without a reason why. I learned steadfast perseverance, trust, and strength, qualities I never knew I had. The biological and psychological aspects of my mental illness were a significant part of my story. Still, the most important part was what I had to learn about myself as a result. My experiences shaped me into the person I am today. Learning the things I saw were actually more spectacular than I saw them be taught me life is worth experiencing.

I realized that happiness hits you expectedly, in subtle ways.

One day you are driving home with your favorite song on the radio. You are singing the lyrics while noticing how blue the sky looks and how the trees fit into the landscape just right. You notice these little things for the first time despite seeing them every day. Now you see that the world is painted in watercolors when you believed it was just greyscale. You realize at this moment what happiness feels like. You're thinking about what you'll wear later tonight and what you'll do when you get home. A future of exciting things awaits — it is visible on the horizon. Despite the fact that life feels overwhelming, you are in love with what's to come. Without knowing how you could ever make it — you made it.

Slowly, you are becoming alive again.

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