LIVING WITH mental illness
Updated: May 18, 2020
Can you live well with mental illness?
Does recovery require a removal of disease or diagnosis?
I'm Jane - I am many things, amongst them I am someone who lives with mental illness. I choose the term LIVES WITH mental illness, for various reasons. Firstly no illness completely defines me. I am many things before a sufferer of mental health problems.
My aim is to LIVE WELL with mental illness. Mental health problems are not straightforward and often to not have fixed start and end points. I have long periods where symptoms are under control and even absent. However I also have periods of illness where symptoms are more problematic.
I do not mind carrying a diagnosis with me, my life is not on hold until this diagnosis is removed. (And anyone with experience of mental health services understands that the removal of a diagnosis can be a challenging and lengthy process!).
The journey of recovery is not necessarily the removal of diagnosis. It is the management of symptoms and minimising the effect these have on day to day life. I choose not to battle the EXISTENCE of my mental illness. We all have physical and mental health. Our brain is an organ, in our body, that can get sick.
But what I DO fight for is my quality of life. Access to the medication that gives me the best results and minimal side effects. Access to supportive and therapeutic mental health care. I fight for inclusion and acceptance for people with mental health problems.
But most importantly I fight for my life and my mind. I face the relapses and challenges with as much fight that is in me at the time. Sometimes that fight is vigorous. However most of the time that 'fight' involves breathing through anxiety, getting out of bed, ignoring certain thoughts, doing the best I can to get through that day or minute or hour.
It involves me telling myself that this will pass, and the sun will shine again as it always does.
More importantly than living with mental illness, I am a wife and a mum (to three!). I'm also a registered mental health nurse and a CAP Debt Centre manager. I've also been called a mental health advocate, guest lecturer, public speaker and author - these sound rather grand, but any chance I get to speak publicly about mental health awareness I will take!!
*everyone has their own views and experiences of mental health, which is okay. This is just mine*
Tell me how you LIVE WELL with mental illness?