Day 10: What is the best thing in regards to your mental illness(es)?
The “best thing”?… Well, I suppose that means looking on the bright side of the unfortunate circumstances which I have begun to get pretty good at doing in spite of myself. 🙂
I have again tapped into the writer in me which has been dormant since college. I have an artistic side to me but not in the traditional sense because I cannot draw even a stick figure. I used to have a gift for singing (no longer, since having my Littles) but can’t play an instrument to save my life! The little bit of artistic ability I managed to get gifted with originated as abstract thoughts in my head. I have always had a way with words, an ease with phrasing and an ability to learn and retain a vast vocabulary but also, I loved to think up stories in my head. I would do this all the time from a young age and as I got older, would sometimes write them down. I realized I loved to write and it has become an outlet for all of the feelings I have now in relation to my illness and treatment. I am not always good at talking about how I feel but I can write about anything. It took being diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders to remember that I have this in me. This has been a very good thing.
Since then I have had opportunities to submit writings to blogs, magazines, a book, I did an interview last week and have been contacted again about having a book written about me. I was chosen as the recipient of a local marathon’s contest for lifetime free entry for my contribution to health and wellness and just this week was asked to come to New York to contribute to a study and speak about my battle with striving to achieve versus fighting major depression for the New York/ Columbia Advanced Psychological Case Studies Program. All of that is amazing to me. I studied business in school but now, because I have an illness I find myself being sought after for my brain not because of my intelligence or accomplishments but because I am slightly broken. It’s kind of ironic, really. And I do like public speaking, writing and being interviewed so why not?! I also took it upon myself to submit an abstract for an upcoming seminar in California as a ‘consumer’ speaking about my experiences with mental illness. I will find out if the abstract will be accepted by the end of December. My kids would love to visit California!
So all of that is good and positive. Not hiding and in addition, showing my children that one can always do something healthy that contributes to society and learning even if initially it seems like an insurmountable disadvantage is a valuable lesson I have to teach them that is unique to my situation. Again showing that I am not embarrassed about my illness and no longer feel the reprocussions were weaknesses and that anything can be overcome and turned into something better and amazing. When others might have given up or turned to drug use or even just sunk into a dreary life of complacentcy, they can look at their mother and see someone that came from the lowest depth of an illness and learned about it, did everything possible to get better (and will always continue to do so), and use all of it good/ bad/ and appalling to try to help others who may be slipping into the same depths. That is by far the best thing I can hope for.