Keeping My Identity Whilst Suffering From Mental Illness

May 16, 2018

Do you find yourself feeling like you are defined by your mental illness?

You aren’t alone.

I have been in this exact position and the feeling of loneliness and entrapment within your own mind can be overwhelming and sometimes scary. Yes, our mental illness is a part of us; but it does not have to define us.

My journey with anxiety and depression has been a long rollercoaster with twists and turns along the way. There have been times I have thought “I feel so normal” which were then followed by periods of “this anxiety will never leave me” or “this is who I am going to be for the rest of my life.”

It’s incredibly tough to live with; yet so many people suffer in silence on a daily basis.

But you are so much more than your diagnosis!

In the midst of a dark place it can be incredibly hard to feel like you are you. Mental illness has a way of making you feel like you have a sign hanging above your head all day every day with your diagnosis on because you feel it is obvious there is something wrong with you. You feel different to everyone and you feel like you stick out in a crowd of people. When in reality, you probably don’t, but you are so aware of your illness it can feel like that is who and what you are.

You have nothing to be ashamed of though.

I have been in counselling for a year and my life has done a 180 flip. Don’t get me wrong, I still have awful days and even weeks, but I now know there is a light at the end of the tunnel opposed to feeling like I will keep sinking into darkness.

But at the start I think I was afraid to let go of the anxiety in a way. It had had such a hold of me for the previous decade that I was afraid of who or what I would be if I started to ‘get better.’

But I am still me.

I am still Han but with less anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I am still Han but have learnt to set boundaries and learnt my triggers. I am still Han but with added mental strength and a kinder inner-monologue. I am still me.


H x 

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