REAL TALK: WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?
Mental illness is *not* something to be imprisoned by, Dearest.
It's just a label . . . one you can find a LOT of freedom in!
There is such a negative connotation around this phrase, it drives me crazy.
Like literally - crazy cray cray . . . and even as I type that, people who buy into labels that imprison and kill people's souls will say "yes, she's crazy" with that disapproving nod we all feared as children.
Nobody determines what we are or how we feel about ourselves right now. Only we can do that.
And screw those who try to! This article isn't for them, it's for you . . .
I want to show how I stopped letting my diagnosis of C/PTSD from becoming a self-sabotaging machine, generating a consistent stream of thoughts inside me that made me feel horrible.
This happens so automatically for most of us, we don't even realize it's happening.
That's why I'm popping this illusion for us today, so you can start loving yourself the way you've always deserved to be loved.
I'll start with a personal story. In 2005, I thought my life was over when I was diagnosed with secondary post-traumatic disorder after working on Canada's second largest murder case in my career!
I developed the condition from an experience I had at work, yet I made myself SO BAD. So very, very wrong, simply for being different!
It makes no sense, if you think about it. I'm out there, serving the world, helping my community deal with a tragic event, making a difference in the lives involved, then I beat myself up with this phrase "mental illness" as soon as the doctor tells me what I have.
Even if you were born with a condition that sets you apart from the rest, making yourself bad, or wrong, is the worst thing you can too.
I get why we do this . . . it's not exactly "cool" to stick out from the crowd.
Having a doctor saying there's something wrong (aka needing to be fixed) hurts our being and soul so deeply too, and can damage us beyond repair. The amount of people who take their own lives because of the stigma around mental illness breaks my heart.
I know gaining new insight and letting go of old, limiting beliefs saved my own life. Maybe it will save yours or someone you care about, too.
We must stop allowing others to define WHO WE ARE.
I used to do the same thing with my weight, which has gone up and down since I turned thirty. I let other people define what good/bad was for me.
I didn't know how to BE any other way, than what they told me to be. Someone who needed fixing. Someone who was different. Who didn't fit in. Someone who was bad.
I didn't know how to define good/bad for myself!
And I certainly had no idea that there were all kinds of ways to define something . . . like mental illness.
For example, if I go to American Psychiatric Association, the definition is:
"Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities."
If I go to the holistic health industry, they argue that PTSD, for example, is not a mental illness at all. It's a PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY.
Most important, when I dive into my heart and soul, the definition is this:
WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT IT TO BE.
I personally choose to see myself as anything but SICK, which is exactly what the word "illness" means!
I am healing, every day, and so is everyone else - regardless of what label you slap on them.
It's only when I require a service from a particular person or agency, do definitions become relevant.
For example, if I needed disability funding in a particularly difficult time in my life, I would need to go to a medical doctor, who fills out forms, approving me as a person who fits the APA definition of mental illness for the purpose of funding.
That is the only purpose.
This is what I REALLY want you to see here:
it is not WHO YOU ARE.
Stop giving the power to define who you are away to others, gorgeous soul.
Your identity is what YOU believe about yourself. It determines what actions you will take every day, including actions that make you money (or don't), actions that draw love to you (or don't) and actions that make your body and soul feel wonderful (or don't).
Either way, you live with the consequences of your belief about yourself, EVERY TIME.
If you believe you are sick, will you spend today soaking up beautiful moments and dreaming BIG and taking actions to bring those dreams into fruition?
If you see yourself as a beautiful, precious soul, being housed in a body that you're forever learning how to nurture and thrive in, will you feel positive and uplifted and experience aspects of what you've always dreamed of living today? Right now?
Instead of waiting for this evasive "one day" or "tomorrow" when you'll be healthy enough or good enough or pretty enough or sane enough?
This is what matters.
How you feel and think about yourself.
NOT what others think.
Not even medical associations or groups of people in society who have no idea what it's like to live with your particular constellation of experiences.
You decide, Dearest.
You decide how today will go.
You decide who to let into your world.
YOU DECIDE WHAT DEFINES YOU AND HOW YOU LIVE.
Now is the time to let go of ALL internalized ideas about your identity that came from another person.
Whether it was your parents, doctor, former best friend, love partner - anyone and everyone.
If it doesn't make you feel good, then it's not aligned with who you truly are.
THAT IS THE ONLY TRUTH!
You can consider the definition provided by others, you can try on the perspective of others to see how it feels - this is how we grow and learn...
BUT taking this on blindly and just accepting what others say at face value - no matter how much power assigned to them in society or the world - is killing your soul.
You were born a precious being of light. A beautiful babe with so much glowing potential, beauty, purity.
Nobody can steal that from you . . . unless you let them.