This post has come as a result of my first ever week of the #TalkMH chat, which was on recovery! It was really fun to be a part of it and learn so much from others who have experienced some form of mental illness.

One thing that came up that I spoke to Rob ( about (hey Rob haha!) was the positives of having a mental illness. It often gets overlooked whenever anyone mentions the words 'mental health' - which, while we're on the subject, always seems to be associated with mental ill health, and they are TWO different things. Mental health is just another form of health, like physical health. Mental ill health is more talking about mental illness and any treatment/struggles/recovery etc that may come with it, and it's not always negative.

Anyways, I think there's something to be said for dealing with a mental illness. It's hard to see, particularly in yourself, but in those days where you feel even slightly good again, you can sometimes appreciate the reality of your situation; which isn't always negative. I've learnt a lot through dealing with anxiety and depression, and these are the things that stand out to me.
  • I'm actually a pretty empathetic person. I know what it feels like to be at your absolute worst, feeling the lowest of the low and not knowing how to make it go away. It's awful - so much that you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. So, if I know someone is feeling rubbish and struggling, I want to help, because I don't want them to feel as bad as I once have. Anything I can do, I will try my best. Surprisingly enough, the majority of people who I've met + who I'd consider the most empathetic are those who have had or still do have their own struggles.
  • Patience is a virtue. I've never been great at this, but I've learnt how to be better, and how important it is. When the days feel like an eternity, I still manage to get through them, and I'm really proud of myself for that.
  • I can be more compassionate towards myself. It wasn't until I finished my last round of CBT that something clicked and I finally wanted to take care of myself. I'm so bloomin' glad I did, because it's made me, and those who care about me, so much happier, and seeing them happy makes me happy.
  • I've developed a thicker skin, which I know is going to help me keep going and keep my head up high through some of the harder times that may come.
  • I've realised how happy it makes me just to talk about mental health, and I think I've finally worked out that this is somewhere I'm meant to be.
  • I've made so many wonderful new friends through the mental health community, both online and in real life. It's happiness on another level to know someone understands the most vulnerable parts of you and still doesn't judge you, and that's something to be cherished because it's hard to find.
  • I am capable of caring about myself enough to make big changes to my life, and I'm proud of that. I've shown myself that actually, I am worth something, and I can make a difference, even to myself.
  • I can be an example to others, and help them feel more comfortable around the subject of mental health. I can show them that it's not as scary as they might think, and it is possible to keep living and laughing and be happy and enjoy life, even with a mental illness. I can help break down the stigma.
  • I know myself better. I've learnt things about the way I think, feel, react, and behave and I can manage that. I am able to self-reflect and be self-aware, and that helps me to help others to understand my struggles and experiences.
  • I can leave my comfort zone, and still be ok. I realise how much is out there for me, and what I can accomplish if I let myself try, even a little bit.
  • I can appreciate the small things in life and be content with my own situation. Whether it's a warm cup of tea on a freezing cold day, a good book that I can't put down, or even a sunny walk around my beautiful hometown, these are the things that make me truly happy.
  • I know not to compare myself to others, and in doing so, I am helping myself be happy. I am controlling my emotions, feelings and moods, and not letting my mental illness attempt to do that for me.
  • I'm not afraid to be who I am, and rid my life of anything/anyone that doesn't make me happy or doesn't have my back.
  • Lastly, I can look back and say I don't regret anything. This entire experience has made me who I am, and it continues to do so. If I hadn't been through the worst, I wouldn't know how to appreciate the best. I can accept it, and I can accept myself.
There are still times when I struggle, and sometimes that lasts for an hour, a day, a week, or longer. That's ok. I'm not 'fixed' and maybe I never will be, but now my mental health is a priority and I can actually be thankful for it.

M x