Living with a mental illness, if this is what we call it. I feel has always been a good thing.
It has taught me strength of mind, it has heightened my empathy for others and an innate ability to understand and absorb other peoples emotions quickly and easily. I can read a social situation instantly and feel the needs and wants of others. At times it’s like I can see the energy coming from them, whether they are sad, happy, scared, struggling. I have spent so many years self analysing its like I am exposed to the people around and I am raw to their own emotion.
Another thing is, as I have had it for such a long time 30+ years I do not know what it would be like to live without it, it is a part of me, it makes up who I am. What would my day be like without planning my food intake, my exercise regime, living with sporadic but intense thoughts and fears. I do not know and to be honest I do not think I want to live without it? I would not know how to structure myself, it would be like an important piece of me was missing, the part that glues the rest of me together. I think I would unravel and if we want to call it – being well, if I had a choice I do not think I would take it? The way I am has made it easier for me to understand my children and their pent up angers, shame, struggles and emotions. I mean I have had the same feelings for years and I still work daily on my patience and being overwhelmed by noise and clutter.
Also, What is being well?, What is a mental illness really? Are we not all mentally unwell in some way, what makes us unwell?
The recognised definition is :-
“Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.”
Does this not describe human behaviors good or bad in general. I really do not know. I do not feel like I am actually “mental”, wild, yes! Maybe I am just happy not to hide who I really am, what I really see and feel? I wear, say and kinda do what I feel is appropriate, maybe not always socially appropriate, but why must we live a lie and hide in shame?