Mental illness is always something that is considered a bad thing that brings doom and gloom to peoples live, there’s nothing ever really positive written about it and I’m not surprised as it can be the most painful suffering someone might ever go through. Being in recovery for the past four years, I feel like I have been able to see my own mental health as something that isn’t all negative or bad. It’s actually taught me a lot of good valued life lessons that I would even consider very positive. It might make you think of your own struggles and might help you to rethink some of the experiences you’ve been through, was there anything positive or valued you could take away from it? Here are a few of the positive lessons I’ve learnt!
1. I’ve become more and more grateful – I’ve always tried to be appreciated and thankful for the things in my life, but since suffering with poor mental health I have really realised how important being grateful is. I’m so grateful for the people I have in my life currently and those in the past who ever helped me through any of my struggles, in particular my family who have stuck by my side through absolutely everything, my friend Amy who helped me overcome and get through many tough situations, my boyfriend Matt who made me realise how truly beautiful life can be, all of my blogger friends who always share their support and my therapist who has given me the chance to learn so much about myself.
It isn’t just the people who have made me super grateful, I’m even thankful for the not so good days and those boring average days no one ever really talks about. They have helped me appreciate the good times and have enabled me to be at peace with these days. I’m also grateful the little things in life like having a good night’s sleep, eating the foods I enjoy and love, being able to get outside into the fresh air, being able to run this blog and earn a small income from it, to have the interests that I have and to be able to make memories.
I’m also grateful for the fact I have the time to try and try again. I have the chance to learn and grow. This has helped me really understand what happiness feels like and what it is really all about. The list of things I am grateful for is endless. I could never not be grateful because I feel so lucky to have what I have and also be given the chance to learn from my own experiences.
2. I’m more compassionate towards others and situations – Having a mental illness and even just blogging has opened me up to a whole new world. It has allowed me to come across people from all walks of life and to be able to learn about their stories has raised my awareness of just how different everyone is individually, but how we can all go through similiar things and need the support of each more than ever. It’s stopped me being so judgemental towards people and to instead allow me to get to know people first. Having this blog and chatting to people who also have mental health illnesses, I’ve been able to offer a helping hand and been more understanding to all different types of people from a range of different backgrounds. I’ve learnt to not care so much about what’s on the outside and to look inside at what really matters. I’m so glad that it has made me more compassionate and less judgemental.
3. I’ve realised the importance of self love and self care – I always say this, but it really frustrates me that self love and care was never preached to me when growing up. It was never spoken about at school nor did I ever hear anyone else really talking about it in the outside world. But the importance of self love and care is huge. To be able to shower yourself in self love and care, you’re recognising your self worth and telling yourself that you deserve the love you’re giving yourself. Slowly over time, I have learn to quieten the self critic inside my head and been able to praise myself more and more. I now am quick to challenge any negative self talk and replace it with something positive to say about myself. This has helped increase my confidence and belief in myself. I’ve learnt to be able to take some time out for me and put myself first, giving myself the chance to take care of me and not relying on others to pick up the pieces. This could mean taking myself off for a bath to calm me down, sitting quietly and writing down how I’m feeling, painting my nails or doing my hair, putting on my favourite lipstick or wearing my favourite outfit, going outside for a long walk in the fresh air or switching off from social media.
Self care is talked more and more about in society and it is no surprise because it really does work wonders for your wellbeing. It makes us feel good and better, even if it can’t neccessarily change a situation we’re in, it can make us think a little clearer about it and get ourselves into a good head space to deal with whatever it is. Self love and care is definitely something I hope to inspire others to take some time out of their busy schedules to invest in, as well as teach my kids it someday to help their own wellbeing.
4. I’ve become stronger mentally and emotionally – There’s a really sad stigma in society about mentally unwell people, that they’re weak and not strong, but honestly I know myself and many others (well or not) know that this is the complete opposite! To be able to fight with your own mind every single second of the day, it must be take lot of mental strength to do so. I know I feel inside that I am mentally and emotionally stronger. Every difficult situation I have been faced with, I have found the strength inside of me to face it and get through it no matter the outcome. The determination to continue to fight and try and try again shows strength. To be able to look inside and be aware of my own feelings also takes strength. Not many people have the ability to face their feelings and accept them for what they are. People are quick to run away from them and pretend they don’t exist, but to be able to acknowledge how you’re feeling and even speak out about it takes a lot of guts! You’re going against what society deems is right and wrong, that is not something to be made to feel weak for, you need to feel bloody strong for doing so and I know I definitely do the more and more I speak out!
5. I’ve got a greater understanding and knowledge – If there’s definitely one thing I could take from my mental health experiences, it is that I have learnt so much about myself but also about the human mind. It’s crazy how interesting I find learning about how it works, our behaviours and how our experiences change our minds. Through therapy and my own researching, I’ve been able to grasp such a good understanding of who I am, how my experiences have shaped me, why I behave the way I do and also why my body reacts the way it does to certain situations or feelings. I’ve learnt that rather than the body and mind being seperate things, they’re actually more a whole and work together more than you probably realise they do. I’m now very quick to notice certain thinking styles, behaviours and reasons behind these in other people, which has helped me to understand and help people better than before. This is also where the compassionate side of me comes in to play too. Obviously I’m not an expect nor am I a professional, but you bet I can probably relate to you and be a great listener.
Is there anything positive you have taken away from having a mental health illness?