Living with a Mental Illness: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger
- You don’t have to chase after a “normal” life. A normal life is not necessarily the goal of recovery – even if your friends and family think otherwise. Do what works for you.
- Find a way to embrace and celebrate your uniqueness. I’ve learned it’s better to accept your differences than to change them. You’re going to stand out and you have to find the confidence to be okay with that.
- Beware of people that invalidate your thoughts and feelings because you’re mentally ill. It’s really just an excuse for them to not hold themselves accountable. Watch for phrases like “too sensitive” and “crazy” and then find more thoughtful and understanding people to hang out with.
- Medications are great but therapy is also really helpful. There have been so many times in my life when I said I’m on medication and don’t require therapy but really the ideal situation is having both.
- You are not damaged. You are just as worthy as everyone else. A mental illness doesn’t make you less than others. You are deserving of a fulfilling life and a seat at the table.
- A wise man with a similar diagnosis once told me that sometimes you have to stretch yourself to see what you are truly capable of. I actually took this advice when I was younger and it has served me greatly through the years.
People in recovery, what would you add to the list? For everyone – what are some things you knew when you were younger? What would’ve been helpful? What would have saved you some heartache?