MHAM | What I learned from having a mental illness

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Dear reader,

I remember having to face my first panic attack when I was 11 years old. I have been diagnosed with depression at 14. A lot of other names have been added to all of this, but the whole point is that I have been suffering from a mental illness pretty much my all life. Obviously it helped me being who I am today, even though it does not define me.

I think it’s important to emphasise the fact that none of what I have been through really says anything about myself. I just learned through the years to get something out of it, to see the brightside of it all. So here is what I learned from having a mental illness.

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β₯Β It taught me to be patient

Suffering from any illness really teaches you one thing: to be patient.

You actually have to understand that recovery isn’t a straight line and that it takes time for you to get better. You may not even see it at first, but it’s all those little steps that will make you grow. You truly have to let yourself heal and to recognise every baby steps you manage to do, and that can be really hard.

So you have to learn to be patient – with yourself, but also with others. As I said, it isn’t an easy thing but it ends up being worth it and patience is useful every day for many other situations.

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From Love is Colorful

β₯Β It taught me to be compassionate

Obviously, suffering from a mental illness helps you understanding others and most importantly that you can’t actually understand everything and everyone.

We can’t know what everyone is going through and the happiest looking person can be as miserable as you are feeling. Suffering yourself makes you see things differently and mostly makes you see people differently. It allows you to take a step back and to actually understand the fact that not everything has a reason.

Because of it all, it helps you being compassionate. You stop judging everyone on what they are doing or saying because you know you wouldn’t want to be judged either if you have to cancel at the last minute, only because your mental health wasn’t at its best. Again, we can’t know what everyone is going through and it’s an important reminder.

β₯Β It taught me to never give up

As recovery isn’t a straight line I soon had to learn to never give up. It meant fighting everyday, trying my best no matter what and always trying to do better, to be better.

It’s exhausting to always have to work on yourself, I’ll give you that. But the more you do it, the stronger you become. I may not see myself as especially strong but I know I did a lot and survived a lot. I deserve to feel proud of myself for it, as I never once stopped fighting. Even when I couldn’t see it, even when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, I kept pushing through and I’m still here today to talk about mental health with everyone of you.

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β₯Β It taught me to be nicer with others, but mostly with myself

Finally, having a mental illness taught me to be kinder to others but also to myself.

It’s so easy to judge others and to be mean to yourself. How many times do we think bad things towers ourselves? Well, as you learn to be patient, compassionate and to never give up, you quickly start to understand that kindness is free and should be spread everyday.

I always try my best to be nice. It’s not necessarily an easy thing because I am human – I get tired, angry, frightened, jealous. But no matter what I always try to do my best, and if I fail then I try to do better the next time around. Having to fight dark thoughts on top of everything really pushed me to start being nicer to myself, to allow myself to breathe from times to times but also to give myself some pep talks in the morning or when I need it. Kindness can’t hurt after all.


As the quote says, β€œIt is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” I do have to go through a lot every day. I do suffer from a mental illness. But I can decide to grow out of it every day and to keep doing better, to be better. And that’s what I’d rather look at at the end of the day.

Share with us one thing you love about yourself to spread positivity and promote self-love!

Love always,

Clara

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