Defining Yourself, Not Letting Mental Illness Define You

Having a mental illness does not define someone. It does not define me and if you battle mental illness, it doesn’t have to define you. Hopefully you have heard this before, but in case you haven’t, I’ll repeat it. Mental illness does not define anyone.

I say that because I’ve had therapists ask if I know who I am. Admittedly, I still struggle answering that question. However, before I got into recovery I might have answered that I was a depressed individual. That I was an anxious individual. Now I know that I am someone who lives with depression and anxiety, but like I said, that does not define me.

And I totally understand how hard it can be to make that differentiation. Mental illness lies and convinces you that you aren’t important, that you don’t deserve good things. After all, the demons of mental illness cast long dark shadows. And when you are in the darkness, that might be all that you can see. Worse still, it isolates you and convinces you that you are the only one struggling. But like I said, that is a lie. You are not alone.

And once you get past those lies you can get to the important work of defining you. It can be scary, and just like with recovery it can be a process that takes a long time. Healing takes time. Yet knowing that you are finding and defining the true you, not your mental illness, makes a huge difference. For me, it helped push me forward in my recovery. And hopefully this reminder can help push you forward too.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Be well.

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