Anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder have not only affected my life, but many of my loved ones as well. I am sure many of my readers experience it also. There are people out there who simply do not understand these mental illnesses, and that is okay. It is okay to not understand; it is okay to not have them. However, it Is also okay to have them.
Personally, there have been days where I would not leave my bed. There have been friendships, relationships, and situations I could no longer be in because they were triggers to my anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts. They say “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” and the past 18 years of my life have proved to me just how true that is. You cannot change what you have. You cannot make people understand what you go through. What you can do, though, is remember that you are stronger than your mind.
The mind is a very strong thing. As a person who suffers with these mental illnesses, my mind is my biggest enemy. It makes me feel guilty for things I should feel no guilt for. It makes me feel sad about things I should feel nothing but joy for. It makes me stay cooped up in my bed when I should actually get up and celebrate all of the great things around me. While staying in bed for the day because your sadness is overwhelming is okay, it is definitely not a lifestyle. Trust me, I have tried it. I spent every day in my bed for about a month at one point. Even walking into my kitchen made me shake with fear. I was so terrified to leave my bed, because I feared that as soon as I stepped foot into another setting, I would have an anxiety attack or even just cry and end up back in my bed anyway. I let the fear of failing stop me from trying. It does not happen overnight. Heck, it does not even happen over years. I am still learning and still training myself to truly understand and believe that I am stronger than my mind.
It is important to celebrate yourself. If something great happens to you, do not let your mind flood you with negative thoughts. Tell your mind to shut up and learn to clap for yourself. I wrote a killer book, and I am not being biased because even my own aunt said so! (All jokes aside, it really is great.) However, my mind has a different opinion. It tells me, “Maybe it is not that good” and “Maybe it will not really go anywhere and you are wasting your time.” But I told my brain to shut up, stopped doubting myself, and started celebrating myself, even if it is something as simple as the way I look.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Hate to break it to you, but there will always be people prettier than you, faster than you, stronger than you, and even more successful than you. Do not compete with anyone besides yourself. Unfortunately, my obsessive compulsive disorder plays a huge part in my self-image. I am slowly learning to stick my head a little higher and enjoy my body. I am starting to learn that the way I view myself is not how other people view me. Once again, I am learning to celebrate myself and realize that I am stronger than my mind.
Lastly, let us have a little chat about the word “can’t”. Control-alt-delete that straight out of your brain. YOU CAN, YOU CAN, YOU CAN. If anyone is sick of hearing the word “can’t,” it is definitely my boyfriend.
“I can’t go to the gym I hate running.”
“I can’t beat my anxiety, it is a sickness.”
“I can’t get the job I really want because there are people out there that are more qualified than me.”
Let’s do our loved ones a favor, whether it be my boyfriend, your parents, your best friend, or even your significant other, and recognize that we are stronger than our minds. It isn’t that we can’t, it’s that we won’t. We won’t because our minds are telling us we can’t, and they are wrong. My brain is wrong, your brain is wrong, your mental illnesses are even wrong if you have them. What we struggle with does not define us.
Realize that you are stronger than you mind.