I Love My Mental Illnesses

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten furious about having mental illnesses. I've raged at God for giving me this trial. Everyone kept telling me "Hold on! It gets better!" But it didn't. "Three years. Three freaking years." I have thought to myself as I've contemplated how long it's been since I came home from my mission and faced this trial. Three years of pain. Three years of feeling lost. Three years of being filled with anger. 

I've often thought about who I would be and where I would be at in my life if I hadn't gotten sick. Would I be graduated from college by now? Would I have been married by now, with a baby on the way? Would I be happier, kinder, more loving? I thought I would be. Thinking about these things has made me disappointed in myself.

However, very recently I have started to love my mental illnesses. I have come to love these last three years of hurt. But why?

I love my mental illnesses because of the empowerment they bring to me. Embracing them has given me the strength I need to push through other challenges in my life. It has given me purpose as I try to reach out to those around me who have similar struggles. Accepting and loving my mental illnesses has taught me that I am stronger than I think, and experienced in areas that others might not be. I have an amazing life in ways because I have mental illnesses. I am capable. I am tough. I am becoming who I need to be because of them, and I love it.

I think those of us who struggle with  mental illnesses could all probably be better at being thankful for our trials. I'm definitely still working on it. Yes, having a mental illness is more challenging than most could understand. It is draining. It is painful. And sometimes, it is deadly. But in some odd way, mental illnesses are a blessing. You might disagree with me, and I can understand where you're coming from. But I also understand that mental illnesses can help us grow in ways that nothing else could. We have the power of empathy because we've been in dark places. We know how to love broken things because we too, have been broken. We know how to be strong, because there are times we've had to pick ourselves up off the ground. We are amazing, and our mental illnesses have helped us become that way. 

Learning to love my mental illnesses is still a process for me, I promise. I'm not perfect at this at all. I still have moments where I am filled with hatred toward the things that cause me so much pain. But I am thankful for my bipolar disorder. I am thankful for my generalized anxiety disorder. I am thankful for what I am learning. I am thankful for who I am becoming. I may not be where I thought I should be, but man, I sure do have an amazing life because of my mental illnesses.