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What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

I have been thinking alot lately about how my mental illness has made positive changes to my life. It has opened my heart to other people who are suffering from a variety of mentall illness's. It has brought alot of positive people into my life who want to help me my mental health nurse, psychiatrist and of course there are my friends on Sane forums who mean the world to me.


My mi has opened my soul and made me more aware of my life's journey.


I was wondering what other people's experiences are in positive terms. greenpea xxx


Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

While my mental health isn't improving I understand what your saying and perhaps one day I'll feel the same when I'm on the mend.


I quickly learned while in mental health care the other inmates helped more than the nursing staff, at first I thought it was because the inmates out numbered the nurses but as the days passed and new inmates came in and seeing their fear its just natural to smile and say hello and answer questions and tell them things they need to know like where the bathroom is etc.


Helping others is medicine yea sounds silly I can't explain it but the very process of helping someone even if its having a conversation and listening is better for my mood and feelings than any of the medications they gave me while I was inside.

And helping each other has a compounding effect, on the outside theres a stigma with mental health but inside theres a respect even if you know nothing about them you kinda know how they feel and what their going through so how can you not say hello.


Coming here is kinda like being back in mental health care, Its nice being greeted and welcomed and offered support, I need to find my legs again and in time pay it forward which is what this forum is all about.


In the outside world there are many who treat those with mental health badly, I've had a rough time from family so while your situation is different theres an understanding that we can build on to move forward.


I'm taking it a day at a time, not winning many days but havent quit yet and I'm reaching out to others around me so HELLO I'm a part of this community now.

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

Hey @greenpea good idea for a thread.

It's sort of ironic, but mi has been the best and worst... isolation, but also connection; dispair, but also hope; shame, but also compassion. It has taken me a long time to see the flipside, and my forum friends have been instrumental in that.

I also feel like it's experiencing life in great depth - in a way that only others with lived experience would understand.

Welcome @Gardener I totally agree about the inmates!

Go well today all passing this way.

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@greenpea I have had a lot of things taken from me when I first became mentally ill (job, home, relationship). However, I have met some truly wonderful people who have enriched me life and I wouldn't have even met them if it weren't for my mental illness. This includes my Mrs who has borderline personality disorder (we met in a Facebook mental health support group). My mental illness has made me appreciate the little things in life such as good food to eat and clothes on my back and somewhere to lay my head each night. It's given me an opportunity to be humanistic in my approach to people and see the strength in others (even if I don't always see it in myself). I am grateful for my treating team and my support network I have today. I haven't always been the one to adopt humility, but in my vulnerabilities due to my mental illness, I try to remain humble. I celebrate the small steps and realise now success isn't measured by wealth, it is measured in personal gains, no matter how small they seem to others (getting out of bed some days is a small win for me). 


This is a great thread idea GP. I can see it having many replies.

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@Queenie @frog @Gardener  and all those who have supported my post. Thank you Smiley Happyxxxx

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

Hi greenpea and others,

What a great thread, really uplifting.

I have to put my reply in slightly different language, I don't understand the experiences I've been through in terms of mental illness. I explored all the language and ideas of mental illness for many years, I gave it my best shot. But it really wasn't the right explanation of my experience. I don't have a sickness, I just had life experiences that my society called illness. I haven't figured out why they did that yet ;-)


So I guess I could talk about what my experiences did for me in a positive light. I guess first the bad: they left me subjected to a lot of discrimination and mistreatment, as I guess has been experienced by others here too and I"m so sorry to hear that. I'm still trying to figure out how to be allowed to take responsibility for my own behaviour after 2 years and not be subjected to a 'mental health risk assessment' - I'm not allowed to explain my experience in my own terms except in safe places. I get forced into the view of 'illness'. That feels pretty untenable at times. Of course there was the obligatory violence and force in mental health wards where I sought sanctuary and understanding to work though things and instead was given force and drugs and told what I had to think of myself. But That's all the bad.


The good was what the experience could have been, should have been It was about a metaphorical exploration of trauma, and other things I just couldn't reconcile. It was really paintful sometimes, but it also allowed me the incredible experience to walk into another world. It wasn't 'delusion' this is one of the reasons why mental health constructs and language just don't work for me. Delusions are false beliefs, when they see people not making any sense, and it looks really strange to them MH staff seem to say 'delusional'. But it wasn't delusion, it was metaphor, story.


I was walking in my own story. I knew where the roads were, I wasn't going to get hit by cars. But all the people had different roles and identities in my mind, and the backdrop was changed, kind of like in a science fiction or fantasy story. Like in those fictional stories, the setting allowed me to explore things that couldn't be explored within the confines of everyday life, like questions about life and death, loss, and processing a lot of things that had been held down. It meant a lot and it helped me though things even though it was really painful. It definitely wasn't a sickness even though society refused to understand and called it 'abnormal'.


I hope that one day there will be a world where people are willing to understand experiences like this and provide kindness and support for them. I am so tired of living in a world where I am forced to be an outcast unless I call my experiences 'mental illness'. Its getting really untenable.



Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@greenpea @Fredd50 @Queenie @frog @Gardener great thread. I often ask myself this question. To me, my MI provided a plateform to work through my early/young life issues with my father. A chance to completely embrace and accept myself, that I had reached the lowest level of survival and worked steps to regular life, so I don’t owe my father the level he educated me to. It made my life richer, more colorful, more grounded, more understanding and stronger in myself.

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@Meowmy  beautifully said Meowmy Smiley Happy xx

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@greenpea @Meowmy @Fredd50 @Queenie @frog Thanks for sharing your experiences and positivity Smiley Happy


Since my diagnosis with bipolar a year ago, it has been a constant change and growth.  I feel so grateful for everything I have.  Up until this point in my life i have taken a lot for granted.  I always appreciated the small things in life, but, never more so than I do now.  

I draw a lot of strength from friends and family and the resilience they show.  I'm trying to learn how to be better at that myself and also trying to take care of myself mentally and physically.  


I'm a lot more open to supporting and being aware of people with disabilities and  mental health issues.

Re: What my Mental Illness has done for me in a positive light

@Gazza75  Hi GaryW75 nice to meet you Smiley Happy.  I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 first before it was changed to schizoaffective disorder. It is really great to come across someone who has drawn strength from their bipolar experience. I agree whole heartedly that helping others is a great way to gain positivity in our lives .... what your give out you get back ten fold as they say. greenpeaxx

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