I am happy. In this moment, I’m actually a little grumpy. I am always a little bit grumpy in the morning because I’m not much of a morning person. What I mean by saying that I’m happy is that I am, overall, pretty happy at this point of my life.
This is the first time I have ever felt this way, at least that I can remember. I’m not going to say that everything is perfectly fine. That’s not true. But I can say that I am doing extremely well. Everything in my life is going well at the present moment.
I have started an online course in grammar as part of a creative writing program that I have decided to enrol in to keep myself busy this year. I got a job that starts on June 17. There were five positions, and one-hundred-twenty people applied. I made it. I have started to see someone who is not abusive, and that’s going well so far. I’m doing everything the average 19-year-old would be doing: college, summer job, dating, etc. Not only am I doing that, but I have accomplished some pretty amazing things in the past little while.
I am extremely proud of myself. I reached my rock bottom a few months ago, and I have been able to build myself up even stronger than I was before my downward spiral. Not only that, but I have been open about everything that I am going through. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been times where I have thought to myself, “You should have kept all this to yourself, Sophie. You shouldn’t have told anyone what was going on with you.” However, that thought has only occurred to me a few times. Most of the time, I feel proud and happy that I have shared my story.
I had a few goals that I hoped to accomplish when I made the decision to be open about my mental health issues. The first was to provide a voice that would hopefully be able to speak to others who are going through similar issues. Nobody should feel alone when they are in a battle against their illness. The second goal was to help people who don’t know what it’s like to have a mental illness gain some understanding. In my case, members of my family didn’t know how to react to my issues because they had no way of knowing what I was going through. I know that the not knowing really worried my parents, so I wanted to provide the families and friends of individuals dealing with mental illness with some information. My third goal was to open up people’s eyes to the lack of mental health care in our society.
All that being said, there have been some challenges. There are always going to be people who can’t see things from your point of view, and that is something that I have had to deal with. Not everybody is going to be understanding. I occasionally have people say things to me that make me feel very small. Whether someone tells me that mental illness isn’t really an illness, or that I’m not capable of something menial because I am mentally ill, I am always taken aback by negative comments.
However, I think that these comments say more about the person who said them than they do about me. If someone doesn’t believe that mental illness is a real kind of illness, then their opinions are trapped in the stone age. If someone thinks I’m not fully-functional, I would really like to see them handle everything that comes with being mentally ill. If I believed that everyone who is mentally ill wasn’t really ill and that they weren’t able to function, I wouldn’t have been able to recover as well as I have. It was my belief that I am more than my illness that gave me the strength to get as far as I have in my recovery.
I really hope that if someone has the belief that they aren’t really dealing with a real illness, or that they will never be a fully-functional member of society, they might read this and possibly reconsider. I know this sounds cheesy, but determination is a huge part of recovery. There are many other aspects to recovery (medications, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, having a strong support system, etc.), but I think that believing that you can get better is the most important part of actually getting better.
I also just want to put this out there: If you know someone who is going through a hard time, even if it is not due to mental illness, don’t be a dick about it. Even if you don’t want to offer your support, you don’t have to be rude. Be kind to people no matter what their story is.