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You can be happy and have a mental illness. You can have good finances and have a mental illness. You can have a good relationship and have a mental illness.
You can live a full life with a severe mental illness.
So why is it that I have a hard time finding content tailored to our experience? Why isn’t there anything out there celebrating the fact that we can do all these things even though we’re sick?
Based on these questions I think it’s time for a change.
I want to see more people with schizophrenia running non-profits like Cecilia McGough, who started the organization Students with Schizophrenia to empower students with the disorder to stay in school, support them and their families, and bring awareness about what it’s really like to live with Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder.
I want to see more people like Dan Harris, currently the founder of 10% Happier (formerly known as the guy who had a panic attack on a live news broadcast) talking openly about their struggles with depression and anxiety and how they’ve alchemized those troubles into something soothing and satisfying that they want to share with others.
I want to see more stories of people who didn’t get better but are still kicking ass and taking names despite their illness, like Kim Noble who has Dissociative Identity Disorder and makes incredible art and raised a child.
And I want these stories to be told from the perspective of those who experience it – those living and living well with mental disorders.
Their voices should be heard. Wanna know why?
Because when I saw that Kim was able to be a great mom to her daughter, even when she had 20 different personalities, I felt this huge wave of hope.
Hope because I was going through a tough time where I realized I was never going to be 100% better and I was letting that fact depress and anger me.
Before this I had the idea that I was excluded from things like parenthood, having a successful career, and being happy because I never really saw anyone else with mental illness doing well.
But when I saw Kim’s story and that of others, I realized I didn’t have to be better to have a good life.
I don’t have to get better to have a good life. My mind was blown and everything changed from that day.
Sure, I’ll never stop trying and I work hard every day to be a good person despite my illness. But I can live with people who accept me for who I am like my husband and my mom. They love me whether I’m sick or well.
Someday, we’ll have kids and ya know what, I’ll be a good mom. Will it be a little harder for me than for other moms? Yep, absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it well.
Will I slip and have bad days? Of course; OCD and Depression are chronic they’re never going away. I may even end up having a whole bad year, who knows! But I can rely on my friends, family, support system, and myself to get through it all.
I can live a normal, rich, satisfying life with my diagnosis and so can you.
And when you’re living your dreams, please tell your story so others like me can see you out there shining. And if you’re having a bad day, week, month, or year, share that too. Show us that a full life is made of ups and downs.
So get out there and hare your story my friends and live well <3
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