• Lifes Apprentice

Are there Positives to Mental Illness?

I want to stress that this is an opinion piece!

What I write here is my point of view and what is true for me. You may experience completely different effects of mental health, both consciously or unconsciously.

I am in no way saying that mental illness is something to strive for because of the reasons I write about below. All I aim for in this post is to widen perception and for readers to be aware that you can find positives in a negative situation.

Mental illness is a condition that causes disorder within a person's self. A lot of the effects of mental health are negatively experienced, causing us pain and turmoil. It disrupts our lives.

However, having swum through the dark swamp that houses my demons and experienced the light, I have come to recognise how living with several mental illnesses has helped me to grow positively.

Below is a list of the ways in which I have adapted and learnt to survive through my illness.

I would like you to be aware that having a mental illness has not brought these positives into my life. I have always had these aspects, as do you, but our lack of awareness and strength of our ego has hidden them from us.

  1. Insight into self.

By taking ownership of my mental health and claiming responsibility for what is under my control, I have been able to delve deep within my inner self, open up old wounds that are holding me back and recognise the ways in which I have kept myself from developing. Insight into yourself is such a gift, one that we should all explore willingly. People may be fearful of what they will find, but if you can remember that you are in control of your thought, therefore you determine what is fearful and what is not!

2. Develop my knowledgebase.

Through learning about mental health and the conditions in which I suffer from, I have been able to deepen my understanding of all kinds of subjects. From this, new interests develop and my love for personal development has been unleashed. It is likely that if I wasn't as educated about mental health as I am, my drive for self-improvement would not be the same.

3. Greater awareness of others.

My own mental health has allowed me to become more aware of those around me. I am able to recognise when a loved one is not themselves and because of my own understanding, I am able to put myself in their shoes and gain a level of understanding from their point of view. It is very difficult for people to understand mental health if they have not suffered from an illness themselves.

4. Learn how to handle daily situations in different ways.

Therapy and self-help has provided me with tools and techniques in which I can utilize when I am having a bad day. I have found that having advice from a professional has then enabled me to search for more techniques in my own time to build up my metaphorical toolbox.

5. Creates compassion, empathy, self-care.

My levels of compassion and empathy have grown tremendously, not just for other people but most of all for myself. It can be difficult to offer yourself the self-care and love that you may show to others, but by understanding myself more and more, I have been able to harness true love and care for myself.

6. Appreciation for small things.

The best of us take aspects of life for granted and we do it unconsciously most of the time. Suffering has led me to experience gratitude in ways that I never thought I could. By being aware of the small things in life that make me smile or fill me with warmth, I build on my positive emotions. The more positivity you have in your days, no matter how big or small, the more worthwhile your life will be.

7. Inspiration/motivation.

Mental health can really empower people. There is something really inspiring about a person that overcomes their demons. I have found my mental health to motivate me in all areas of my life, my relationship, hobbies and family life to name a few. Harnessed in the right way, mental illness is a big motivator to recover. Dark days can be the kick up the backside you need to show you what you really want in life.

Positives come in all shapes and sizes, but they are there, even if you don't think they are.

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