Jess shares how her "face-to-face" battle with mental illness has made her a stronger person. A few years ago, Jess would have told you, "my disorder has destroyed me." But after consciously confronting her illness head on and developing a caring support system, she no longer views her anxiety as a weakness, but as a strength. Read her blog below:
I wish I could state with ease, “I am strong because of my mental illness.”
Regarding any illness, the actual illness, disease, or disorder usually makes you feel weaker in a way, whether that be physically, emotionally, or mentally. I am strong, morally, and ethically.
But I am also weak— my mental health, a large part of any human health core, is simply not so strong.
My anxiety disorder has hindered my full mental capabilities at times, and has sent my emotions into a complete frenzy, making me feel like a completely different person. The one thing that it has not taken is my physical capabilities.
If you asked me a few years ago, I would’ve told you my disorder has destroyed me. Now, I realize that it has only opened my eyes to the fact that there will always be someone out there sicker, less healthy, physically weaker, and fighting harder than I am.
When I feel that I am on the brink of a panic attack, I am able to remove myself from the environment I am in. Walk out of the classroom; leave the building. Some people don’t have that luxury. Some people are handicapped to the point where they need someone to assist them to leave a room. Hell, some people have lost their legs in the fight against their illness.
IT TOOK A WEIRDLY LONG AMOUNT OF TIME TO REALIZE THAT LIKE MOST THINGS, BEING ILL IN ANY WAY IS BETTER WHEN YOU AREN'T ALONE.
Small things like a smile, or a small gesture of compassion or understanding goes a long way. Having a friend or significant other by your side that is willing to help you or listen to you is an actual life changer. Having people around makes life worth living a little longer— makes you want to keep going, and maybe even pursue options to help yourself get better.
My mental illness showed me that true strength is in numbers.
I feel stronger every day with the support from those around me, and those in the community that show me that I am not the only one with these feelings and triggers. It is so easy to feel alone, this is why those in this mental health community must fight together. Fight the stigma, fight the negative feelings, and turn our sickness into strength. That is only one of the most important lessons I have learned from coming face-to-face with mental illness.
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