I’ll start with a bit of a disclaimer and say that I didn’t do any searching to verify these quotes, and internet quotes are notoriously unreliable, so these people may or may not have said the things that I’m telling you they said. Regardless of who said what, I think these words are relevant to mental illness.
The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.Robert Tew
I feel like there are a lot of other variations on this theme out there, and if a lot of people are saying the same thing, perhaps there’s something to it. It’s the same kind of deal as what Nietzsche said about what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Researchers at Northwestern University found some solid basis for this; people with early career failures who keep plugging away at it end up doing really in the long term.
I would say that sometimes what doesn’t kill you seriously kicks the shit out of you, but overall, I’d agree that practice dealing with shit makes you better prepared to deal with future shit. That may not be eloquent enough to be quoteworthy, but that’s okay.
Do the best you can until you can do better. Then do better.Maya Angelou
I like this. It reminds of the basic assumption in dialectical behaviour therapy that people are doing the best they can. It’s possible to build new skills and reinforce others so that better can happen, but until then, the best you can is the best you’ve got.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.Confucius
I like the spirit of this, but maybe not so much the literal aspect. People don’t get perfect, for one. And trials may not make people polished; battle-scarred might be more like it. Maybe another way to put it is that when you put massive amounts of pressure on carbon sources, they can turn into diamonds. Those diamonds live below the surface, as does the beauty on the inside. Or something like that.
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.C.S. Lewis
To me, this is about acceptance. No matter how shitty the beginning was, and how much it fucked you over, you’re here now. Now is what you can do something about. You may not have an unlimited choice of endings that are available, but you can steer in a different direction. I don’t think acceptance is something that usually happens right away, and there may be things to mourn that the beginning took away, but acceptance is a good place to arrive at.
The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that keeps you from killing yourself.Albert Camus
This quote is based on Camus’s absurdist philosophy. Absurdism is based on the contradictory coexistence of “the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life, and the human inability to find these with any certainty” (Wikipedia). Mental illness adds another layer, though, as the killing yourself bit can be a much closer prospect than it would in Camus’s sense.
The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.Juliette Lewis
I like this because it captures how difficult a prospect living can appear to be. Sometimes, for some people, that decision may need to be repeated over and over every day. It’s not an easy thing, this mental illness life.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.Anaïs Nin
We only have an indirect connection to reality; it all gets filtered through our senses and our brains, and there’s no way to remove that interference and get a purely objective view. It’s oh so very easy to assume we see things as they are, and in that assumption, we blind ourselves to the indelible stamp of ourselves that’s on everything we perceive. I doubt that it’s possible to just magically make that go away, but it’s probably worth a little inner reminder every so often.
URevolution also has a collection of mental health stigma quotes, which includes one from me. WEGO Health’s article 15 Things to Consider When Discussing Mental Illness also has a quote from me. 😊
Do you have any favourite quotes that have a lot of meaning for you?