I have a mentally illness. Having major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder means that I live with a mental illness. And while I used to have an incredibly hard time admitting that, even to myself, now I embrace it and am as open as I can be about it. And yes, there are many times that I wish so badly that there was a cure, that I could just sweep out all the dark shadows haunting my mind the way you sweep away old cobwebs from the corners of a room. But I can. And besides, being normal is overrated.
In fact, some of the best people I know are also mentally ill. In many cases, the strength of battling back their demons day-in-and-day-out have shaped them into these fantastic people. I don’t like them despite their mental illness, but rather recognize that their mental illness does not define them.
And there are so many times that because of my anxiety or because of my depression I fall back on behaviors that are down right baffling to those around me. And frankly, they are baffling to me as well. Sometimes these moments are awkward, sometimes they are hilarious. They can hurt so deeply that I just want it to end or they can be the silver lining, the sun breaking through the dark, cloudy sky.
And this is what I mean when I say that mental illness doesn’t define someone and that being ‘normal’ is overrated (and probably doesn’t even exist). There are many dark moments that my mental illnesses have been a part of. There are some truly wonderful ones as well. And there is so much in between and it is impossible to separate the good from the bad from the meh. It makes me weird, but that is okay. It doesn’t make me mentally ill, it makes me someone with a mental illness, and there is a difference. Because those bad and amazing and quixotic moments all happened not because of my mental illnesses, even though they were certainly involved, but because of me. Because of how I have responded to my mental illnesses.
There are scary moments in the darkness. Moments you think the darkness is forever. Moments when you think the only way out of the darkness is to end it. Yet the depth of these horrors can also open your eyes to the brilliant, wonderful experiences that are normal to others. When I first come out of a depression, just getting out of bed, showering, and going out into the world, things that most of us consider normal, are a gift to me. Because with the bad comes some good, leaving behind the normal (which as I said is overrated).
Have a good weekend everyone.