If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, no matter if it’s social anxiety, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or any other illness, society is ready with superficial labels to slap onto your shirt. Hello my name is: weak, dramatic, unstable, crazy, nutcase, freak, and the list goes on and on.
With constant anxious thoughts or depressing mind states, it is easy to believe you are inherently bad. You did this to yourself. You make your bed and you lie in it. Life is what you make it. There are plenty of cliché phrases that get shoved down our throats the moment our pain originates from our brains rather than our bodies.
But what does having a mental illness really say about you? Absolutely nothing
Illness is not picky about its hosts, it doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of all ages, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes. Something happens in your brain that makes it hard to function normally. Just like if something happened to your heart, your kidneys, or any other organ.
Except this is your brain, and we don’t know a lot about the brain. So we have to guess and talk a lot about things we really don’t understand that well. Plus there is all sorts of stigma surrounding you, so it’s easy to feel like you are a bad person, you are not enough, or you are to blame.
Which is exactly what your mental illness wants you to believe.
So while having a mental illness says very little about your character, living with one indicates a great amount of strength and resilience.
Fighting one every day says you are a badass and a warrior. You are strong and disciplined. Weak? Dramatic? You keep living and breathing and working so hard even when your brain obsesses over violent thoughts or causes you to hyperventilate or makes you feel completely empty and worthless.
You are here and alive, and that says you are worthwhile.
You are human and you are doing your best, and maybe there is no cure for your illness, maybe there is no remedy to eliminate stigma, but every day you keep going is another day you win against your illness, and another day for people to open their eyes and be educated on the art of endurance and the spirit of resilience. Keep fighting.