How would things be different if you weren’t ill?
I’ve thought and still think about this often. What type of person would I be if none of this ever happened? I think one should be realistic and not blame all your life problems on your mental illness. Face it, life wouldn’t be all moonlight and roses and pain wouldn’t be absent. But what I think would be different is that I would’ve missed out on way less of life. Depression has stolen that from me for years. You lose the ability to care about life and relationships and all you’re doing is existing, not living. So perhaps, I would’ve been more involved and created new friendships, went on more adventures and in general had the sense of enjoyment for life that everyone always described. Also, I would’ve finished university along with the people in my first year because I wouldn’t have had to keep taking time out to be admitted and perhaps get ahead in life sooner. If I just think about all of how depression makes one think and feel, not having that would save one from such an immense amount of suffering and pain. I think a lot of that pain and suffering has made me who I am today and as much as I’ve tried and still try to turn it into something good, I’d give it all up in a second if it meant I wouldn’t wake up every day and have death cross my mind or have to constantly feel like I’m running an uphill battle to keep myself away from another relapse. If I didn’t have depression, my ex boyfriends might not have left and I wouldn’t always have had to have this thing of explaining to people what’s wrong with me and hope they get it and fear another rejection. So perhaps I wouldn’t have been so isolated. As a person, I believe I would’ve had more confidence in myself and been more outgoing and motivated. Also energy and health. I think I would’ve had more stamina in general. Healthwise, I would’ve been saved from so many hassles and feeling like utter crap for so many days. No medication would of course have saved me a lot of money. Then there’s also the scars on my arms that I feel is basically like a megaphone to the world around me of the fact that I have a mental health problem and having to face that judgement, especially if you’re going to be a Doctor, will always make you feel insecure. But the thing that always gets me most, that I want back the most, is my cognition. I would love to be able to remember things so easily and have a brilliant intellect again. I miss being that person who so easily excelled. Realising you have become a fragment of your former self is hard to live with. It’s like depression and anxiety has turned me into vulnerability. I will always be more vulnerable than the average person and it kind of feels like I’ve turned into glass and I have to be so incredibly careful with myself.
Do you think you’ve become a better person through being ill?
No. As much as I’d love to sound brave and like a conqueror and warrior that makes me a badass, or a sudden world changer, unfortunately I don’t believe living with depression has made me a better person. I think without depression and anxiety, I would’ve still wanted to live for something beyond my own needs and make positive change. I would’ve still done what should be done, said what should be said and been sensitive and cared more than I should. That’s because those things are a part of me and weren’t created as a result of mental illness. We all have our inherent personalities that have nothing to do with mental illness and being an empath has been a part of my personality and identity my whole life. The times when I am sick, I am not a particularly wonderful person, I’m just a ghost that has blended into nothingness and even now, I carry around a lot of that with me because that pain has so profoundly impacted me. I think my mental illness has given me the beauty of connecting with other people in pain and who get it and I am so inspired by each of them and love talking with them. That is one thing I wouldn’t want to take back. You see incredible strength and beauty in people who suffer immensely just as you do. Mental health has also become something I would always strongly advocate for and raise my voice for. I would always share my story if it meant awareness and was of any consolation to any other sufferer. I would fight tooth and nail for this cause and I feel it is my duty too. So part of it has made me a stronger person to fight judgement and raise my voice because it deserves to be heard. Whatever it takes, I will never stop fighting and being brave has perhaps become amplified within me because living with a mental illness, you realise no one is going to fight for you but yourself and if you are going to do that it requires creating one very strong voice within you and an immense amount of fearlessness has to be cultivated. So I guess what I’m saying is, I am an empath and have always been one. I’ve always had a strong personality and never been hesitant to fight for a cause I strongly believed in and I’ve always had a sense of fearlessness. Living with depression and anxiety hasn’t given me that, it has only amplified and perhaps cultivated it more. And so, mental illness didn’t make me a better person because I was never in anyway made by it.
*** Join the mental health awareness challenge 10th to 15th July ***
****THIS STARTS SOON. PLEASE READ BELOW BEFORE COMMENTING – ALL MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE INCLUDED****
The Heart Project: On July 10th – 15th we will draw/Photoshop/paint/stick hearts on our wrists/arm/ankles. One heart or many, draw the ones that apply to you. The colour of the heart represents the official awareness ribbon colour, to find out the colour of your illness, please click on this link: https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/awareness/ribbons.php
If your mental illness or mental health related condition/disability is not listed in the examples on the poster, don’t worry, it’s still included but there wasn’t enough space on the poster. Please click on the link above to find out the colour.
This is to spread and raise mental health awareness, to not hide behind the shame, stigma, and to let others know they are not alone. Take a picture of your heart(s), share it on here, in the event page and/or on your profile; get friends and family to join in. Hash tag it #TheHeartProject If you would like to join in but anonymously, send us a message by clicking on the message tab just under our banner, and send your picture. We will post it on your behalf, anonymously.
If you would like to join our event, please click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1076053215829244/
Thank you ❤
~ Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources ❤