Thanks to the awful stigma surrounding mental illness, a conjunction between having an illness and being a failure was formed. Of course, that is no where near the truth, but with stigma, many take it as truth, both the afflicted and non-afflicted. Not only am I telling you that people with mental illness are not failures ever, but I am teaching how those with this belief system can break out and be successful.
Define Success for Yourself
We all have a varying definition of what success means for us. This is the reason I was called an overachiever for so many years, because my definition of success was higher than the people around me. There is no cookie cutter way to define success, it is what you say is a success for you. That can be you start your own business, you get a new job, even you did the laundry today or just got out of bed at all. My success is not the same as yours, define yours for yourself and strive for that.
With Every Downswing There is an Upswing
I have started to look at my depression like swing, as long as I keep pumping my legs I will keep going up, even if I do come back down. Mental illness is not entirely static, where we feel only one way all of the time. There are points where I am horribly low, but I know I just have to keep pumping my legs to go back up. And sometimes, if I try to jump off the swing to fly, I fall. It takes a lot of work to live with a mental illness, but I know I’m not sitting still, but constantly moving through good and bad times. Just keep pumping your legs and try to fly.
Don’t Go Alone
There is never a reason for you to go for anything alone. You don’t have to fight your illness alone, you don’t have to struggle alone, and we want to celebrate your success with you. Find the people who will support and value you, and everything becomes easier.
Don’t Let Mental Illness Define You
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how, with the more and more I write about mental health and illness, especially my own, it makes me concerned that I will be known as the “mental illness” girl or the “depression” girl, or whatever any other tag you want to add. But, you are not your mental illness. It is not your whole identity, it is only one piece of you. And with that, having an illness is not inherently opposite of being successful. They can co-exist, and we are complex people, so never let one piece of you become your whole identity.
How have you defined success for yourself? Leave a comment letting me know.