Recovery for me is a roller coaster of events; it’s a big messy ball of forward progression, stagnant days, and falling back – often in some weird combination of all three. Surviving with mental illness can be difficult on good days and even worse on the bad ones. Not everyone understands how just getting out of bed is a joyous occasion most days and the simplest of chores (like laundry, showering, eating) can be so incredibly hard. I can only ever speak to what my own experiences of dealing with depression and anxiety though.
For me, one of the best things that I have learned and have reminded myself is that it’s okay to feel those negative emotions. It’s important to feel frustration and anger and sorrow just as it is important to feel happiness and joy and love. Trying to squirrel away negative emotions and never feel them has never worked out for me really. I’ve spent so much of my life being terrified and ashamed of the negative emotions I so frequently experience that it took 23 years for me to fully acknowledge the fact that I do have depression and anxiety.
In my mind, you are not broken, you are not a burden, you are nothing more than a wonderful existence if you have a mental illness of any sort. Society seems to treat mental illness as a broken feature to fix or neglect and negative emotions as ones to squirrel away and forget. But these emotions exist and it’s okay if you experience them.
To all those experiencing mental illness or going through a hard time, just know that it’s okay to feel those emotions. When you want or ready, here are some reminders and affirmations that you are worthy:
- You are not a burden – Sam Dylan Finch
- 9 affirmations you deserve to receive if you have a mental illness – also by Sam Dylan Finch, who wrote:
I’m going to issue a challenge to you: Stop pretending to be okay when you aren’t. You don’t need to be “okay” all the time or even most of the time.