What has my illness given me that’s good?

What has my illness given me that’s good?


Sometimes when you do not know the answer to your question it is best to just ask. I have not had the best day today and this has made trying to compile a post for today quite difficult. I have been through my little Pocket (great program) where I store all the things that should prompt me to write but nothing. The swirling fog of emotion has left my mind so cluttered that logical thought has just not had a chance.

So in desperation I turned to my faithful Twitter community for inspiration and thanks to the wonderful @myanxiousheart I at least have direction. The reply went thus “Maybe write about what positive things anxiety gave you, I am sure there are some. It’s a fresh approach [be]cause anxiety is perceived so negatively”. So do I choose to accept this mission…..

I must admit it is something I don’t think I have ever considered, has my anxiety brought any positives into my life? I suppose to answer this I have to expand the scope to include the depression etc. and take my illness as a whole. In the first instance I would have to say that the very acceptance after so many years of suffering, has been a positive. While I wish I didn’t have something wrong with me, at least accepting it has allowed me to get help. Acceptance has also allowed me to remove a lot of self hate, where I always thought I was just a crap person I do now at least know that some of it can be attributed to the illness. Though I am sure that not all of my life choices can be swept under the mental illness rug.

To be able to learn to accept, I have also had to learn quite a lot about mental illness and that has been very positive. I have learned what a disastrous state the mental health system is in, also how impossibly widespread it is. It has ignited a passion within me to do something to help, so in a positive sense it may lead my life in a new direction. I have also had the pleasure of being welcomed into a new community, not just fellow sufferers but also those who are working tirelessly everyday to tackle the problem. There is an amazing sense of achievement and satisfaction when you can say something that can brighten someone else’s day, also very beautiful when they do the same for you. I suppose in a way a community that is built on so much pain and suffering is actually so full of love and compassion it has to be a positive benefit to anyone.

Without my problems I also would not have this, my beloved blog. My little place where I can scream at the world (in a polite manner) and care not what the world thinks back. I write because it helps me and apart from my horrendous grammar and punctuation I get a great sense of satisfaction out of doing it each day, though sometimes it does feel like a chore. It would also be very wrong if I did not acknowledge that the fact some people actually not only read it but for some mad reason actually like it (and understand it). Yes it does lift my spirit when I see that people have read my ramblings, and sometimes a bit emotional when they even leave lovely messages of encouragement, even thanks.

At the moment my life is still quite a mess and almost on pause but I am learning some valuable life lessons. Chief amongst these has to be that I only have one life and I am already halfway through that. So I must give thanks that my illness has opened my eyes to the importance of self-preservation, there is always someone to take my place in the rat race. I have to be selfish and look after myself first, how can I look after anything else if not myself?. I am still an emotional mess that can just about function but at least I know this and can smile about it.

So yes, when I reflect on it I have got some pretty positive things from my illness. Oh it is a dark place a lot of the time but the positives have the potential to become something amazing. I have to remember that I am still so new to recovery, it was only the 18th May that I had my breakdown and I have to be a bit proud of how far I have come since then. Pain is still very fresh and raw, I spend a lot of time hovering on the brink of tears (though they never come).

I should also thank my illness for showing me how much people care about me, it is very humbling. It does still feel a bit humiliating to know that other people are having to watch me so close, to practically care for me. I know that I am stupid when I put a brave face on for them because it can lead them into a false idea of how I am but I just can’t face how useless I am right now. The positive though is I am learning a sharp lesson in humility, a very bitter pill to swallow as those who know will know.

I have let people just pick up the pieces of my self-destructive tendencies many times in the past, however this time I am feeling the pain and humiliation. For so many years I just ignored the feelings of others as I wiped my feet on them and left them to clean up my mess. This time I am not doing this lightly, the pain, the emotional torture is a most positive reminder of my actions. Yes I accept that I have not only hurt people but also caused people to have to sacrifice much on my behalf and I will use the pain I am feeling as a penance until I can repay the debt I owe them.

So thank you mental illness, you have brought me to my knees, you have humbled me. I look at the world through new eyes and through the darkness I see a light.

“The past is history, the future a mystery, today is a gift and that is why it is called the present. “

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