I was sitting at the NAMI Ohio Conference today listening to several speakers share their story of living with a mental illness. Two people who had schizophrenia and one person with anxiety and depression. You may have heard of Wil Wheaton. I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t really know who he was. Turns out he’s pretty famous.
Anyhow, what struck a nerve was how fluidly the speaker’s discussed their mental health issues. How they each described in intimate detail how their illnesses effected their lives. And yet there they were on stage in front of hundreds of people appearing perfectly “normal.”
One man is an actor performing six shows a week. He works full time, has a fiancé and lives a full life. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his struggles with schizophrenia, but he has a good life.
I thought of myself speaking to audiences young and old. I rattle any number of stories about my manic highs and psychotic episodes. And then I talk about having found my purpose as an advocate and speaker. Other than my extremely broad shoulders (lol) I look “normal.” Because contrary to what some people think those of us with mental illness can and do recover.
I never went back to my old life. In fact if I’m honest there was no old life to return. I literally had to start all over. And that’s not such a bad thing. But it’s difficult.
If you’ve landed on my blog tonight looking for encouraging words, I want to tell you you can get better. You can recover. You can live the life you dream about. It might be difficult to get there, but it’s possible.
No matter what circumstance you found yourself in because of your mental illness, you can overcome it. Don’t give up the fight.
People do recover.