Hear me out here. My mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder) are incredibly hard. I have been through some of the lowest lows. I have experienced thoughts and feelings I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I am extremely grateful for everything that approaching my mental illnesses head on has brought me.
Yes, there has been pain. And there’s also been an end to the suffering as I’ve started to work through some of my most painful feelings and experiences, instead of avoiding and ignoring them.
Yes, it has been hard. And it’s shown me how strong I am and how I can conquer anything.
Yes, there have been days where I’ve wanted to just give up and give in to every urge and behavior because it would have been “easier”. And each of the times I persevered showed me how brave I am in the face of adversity.
Yes, there have been relationships loved and lost due to people not getting it or not wanting to. And I have also been introduced to incredible souls that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t begun recovery.
Yes, there have been experiences and opportunities taken away from me because I was sick. And deciding to recover has given me so many more chances at greatness that I never would have had otherwise.
Yes, I get frustrated and disappointed and feel so low and hopeless I could scream. And I can also recognize the wonderful gifts that having mental illnesses have brought me. I can hold them together, as a dialectic, and realize they can both exist in the same space.
It is so easy to resent the things I can’t change–my brain chemistry, your genes, the environment… whatever it is that could have caused the onset of the mental illnesses I am struggling with. And it’s certainly easy to feel like everything is unfair, the “why me?!” kind of attitude towards the current situation.
And it’s also important to try not to stay too stuck in that mindset. The best way I’ve clawed myself out of hopelessness and the dark places has been to try to acknowledge the positive. The more I’ve done this, the better I’ve felt, even if it’s only temporary.
And so, yes, I would say that I am grateful for my situation, especially when it’s the hardest. I can confidently say that I have grown and changed for the better in the process of recovery. My life is certainly different than it was pre-mental illness or pre-recovery, and for that I am grateful.
I am strong, brave, and dedicated to creating a change, not just in my life but in the lives of others. I am no longer afraid of hard times or the painful stuff. I have become a better person and I couldn’t be more thankful for the long, windy path that has brought me to exactly where I am today.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.