What I’ve gained from my mental illness

I’ve read before that mental illness should be viewed as a gift, and while that struck me is a big fat load of BS, it did prompt me to give some thought to things that I have gained from my illness:

  • greater empathy and compassion
  • greater understanding of mental illness
  • makes me a better nurse
  • has helped me to be less judgmental
  • has made me more open-minded and accepting
  • has given me a greater appreciation of wellness, happiness, and hope
  • it inspired my masters thesis and several published academic papers
  • it has put me in a better position to challenge stigma
  • it has allowed me to access a sense of community and belonging among mental health bloggers
  • it has pushed me to take a closer look at my thoughts and emotions
  • it has made me take a more holistic view of managing health problems in general

What have you gained from your mental/physical health challenges?

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26 thoughts on “What I’ve gained from my mental illness

  1. Karen says:

    Great list, as we cannot ever undo what has been done, the next best thing is to take some positives from every experience.

    Many of your list apply to me, I would also add that I’ve learnt to be more compassionate towards myself and the importance of self-care and of looking after my own health/well-being. I also understand myself more, my emotions, my motivation, why I am this person, I may be flawed and imperfect, but this is me! Additionally, I only write because of what I’ve been through, especially my poetry.
    Oh and one last thing, having my husband standing by me through all these years, I appreciate him and our relationship more than maybe I did before.

  2. Invisibly Me says:

    It can be hard (very, very hard sometimes!) to see what good can actually come from such experiences and mental (or physical) illness, but it’s quite eye-opening to do. I totally agree that it’s put me in a better place to challenge stigma, too, and it’s made me more passionate about mental & physical health and raising awareness, and I’m also far more empathic and open-minded, too. Great post!  ♥
    Caz x

  3. Alexis Rose says:

    This is a great post. I had never written anything before my illness. Then I wrote a poem and shared it with one person. Suddenly I felt a gift of light from the darkness that I was mired in. I don’t believe I would have become a writer if not for my illness. I have also learned to be much more authentic and vulnerable with others. Thanks for sharing and the prompt. 💞

  4. Esuriit says:

    I didn’t realize until recently how important it is to have a sense of community. There’s a weird sort of comfort that comes from knowing there are other people out there struggling with the same issues and discrimination.

    • Meg says:

      Great post, Ashley Leia!!

      I totally agree, Esuriit. When I was a teen and young adult, there were a few times I was in the mental hospital, and the camaraderie with the other patients was instantaneous. No one liked me at school or church, but put me on a mental ward, and we were all bonded somehow.

  5. utahan15 says:

    to be honest
    very little
    i aspire
    to non of the virtues
    you mention above
    i vacillate
    between anger
    and self pity
    learning slowly to love tho

  6. Marie Abanga says:

    Ashley, I seriously share your list although some can’t apply since am no nurse… lol. I have both PTSD and RA and so I can appreciate from both mental and physical illness perspective. There is a big gap widened by stigma and blablabla. I love my life as is though and wouldn’t wish to live it differently

      • Marie Abanga says:

        Oh Ashley, no need to be sorry for anything right? We all get our moments and yes WP acts up too. Wish we could say it got so synapses every now and then lol. I so love Jim Carrey’s painting titled: Dare to be seen in all your Glory. I buy that 500%

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