You and Your Disorder: A Guide to Living Your Best Life.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t have to be ashamed of your mental disorder. You can be proud of who you are. It’s perfectly fine to accept ALL of who you are. This isn’t a one-step process. It takes more than just saying you’re going to accept your flaws, for it to happen. You have to really reach inside yourself, dig down deep.

 

Step One:

Admit you have a mental disorder. This seems obvious, but trust me, it’s really not that simple. I lived in denial for like, YEARS. I wanted to be “normal” so badly, I just ignored it, and hoped it would just go away on its own. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Here’s what it DID do: kept heating up inside me until it boiled over. Eventually, it was spilling out everywhere. Once the pot boils over, the water goes all over the place. It makes a huge mess, and it smells bad. The thing I’ve noticed is… most people let it get to that point before admitting their disorder exists. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can admit that the disorder is real, and keep all of your water in the pot.

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Step Two:

 

Don’t panic. Now, that you’ve admitted to having the mental disorder, you may start to freak out. The bad thoughts will probably start to creep in. You may worry that your life won’t be the same anymore. You may feel like a freak. You’ll more than likely feel alone. But, you’re not. You are not alone. And, your life doesn’t have to drastically change. You are the same you as you were before the diagnosis. The fear can try to take over, but don’t let it. You are stronger than your disorder. Believe that. It may be a part of who you are, but it is not ALL of who you are.

 

Step Three:

 

Talk to someone. Keeping all your fears to yourself isn’t healthy. You never need to feel like a burden for talking about your disorder. Keeping it in can eat you alive. Trust me, this is coming from experience. At the very least, write it down. Get it out of your head and on to a page. It helps.

“Don’t-be-ashamed-of-your-story.-It-will-inspire-others.”

Step Four:

 

Accept it. This is a cliché thing to say, but it’s important. Knowing you have a disorder, and accepting it, are two very different things. You can live a healthy life, alongside your disorder IF you accept the fact that it’s not going anywhere. You WILL have bad days. You WILL feel hopeless sometimes. You WILL have the disorder forever, because there is no cure. And, you WILL also have good days. Embrace the bad, and cherish the good.

 

 

Step Five:

Love yourself. This is the last step. And, the most important. Your disorder does NOT define you. You are valuable and should never doubt your worth. It is not lessened because of any diagnosis you’ve received.

 

Will following these steps make all your problems go away? No. But, they can help. Sometimes, all you need is to be reminded of how important you are. You need to know that a diagnosis on paper, doesn’t change the person you are on the inside.

You are going to get discouraged sometimes. You’re going to feel scared, and sometimes alone. Some days will be harder than others. Just don’t forget about the good days. Hold onto them. Look forward to them. Thoroughly enjoy them.

And, above all, always remember to remind yourself that you are not alone.

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A Thank You to those that Love Someone with Anxiety.

To those of you married to someone with an anxiety disorder, the parents, the siblings, the friends supporting people with a mental illness: this is for you.

I think it takes a special kind of person to love someone with anxiety, unconditionally.

As someone that has anxiety, I know just how much patience it takes to deal with loving me. It takes understanding, and a kind heart.

If you are loving someone through their mental illness, you are more of a hero than you know. Every hug, late night talk, and reassuring smile makes us feel a little more normal again.

To those of you that sit in silence with us when we can’t find the words: you are speaking volumes.

To those of you that treat us like a normal human being, because that’s what we are: you make us feel sane.

To those of you that take the time to actually listen when we just need an ear: you’re helping us to get our emotions and feelings off our chests.

Living with a mental illness can be frustrating, challenging, lonely, and sometimes unbearable. But, having at least one person that knows just what to do, can make a huge difference in our lives.

You may not understand why we are the way we are, but you love us anyway. And, that is impressive. You will probably get aggravated with us. (Hell, we get aggravated with ourselves!) But, you don’t leave. You always stick by us. And, that is impressive. You show us compassion, even on the days we don’t want it. And, that is impressive.

YOU are impressive.

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What it Looks like to Struggle with a Mental Disorder

There are so many people that struggle with mental disorders in the U.S. alone. When I say struggle, I mean it. Mental disorders are no joke. They hurt, they make people feel isolated and judged, they cause a constant battle inside a person’s head, and sometimes, they even kill. 

Even though mental disorders cause daily struggles, and can be deadly, you can’t always see them. Some people suffer silently for years. But, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Mental disorders are very real, and need to be addressed more often. 

While a person can look totally fine on the outside, they can be fighting an extreme battle on the inside. 

The disorders don’t discriminate. Anyone can be a victim. You’re not always born with it. Some develop in children, and some even wait until you’re an adult to appear. 

Every disorder is different. Each one has it’s own set of signs to look out for. 

If you know someone showing signs of a disorder, don’t be afraid. Don’t distance yourself from them or run away. 

Above all, don’t be afraid to love someone with a mental illness. 

There is such a bad stigma that surrounds mental illness. People seem to assume you can’t have one AND be a normal human being at the same time. But, that’s not the case at all. Sure, we have bad days, but we also have good days, too. 

We are people. We’re human beings. 

A note to those of you living with a mental disorder: 

Don’t feel like you can’t be normal. There is no such thing as normal. We are all different. We all have qualities that make us who we are. Being unique is not a bad thing. For so long society has put labels on mental illnesses that have made people judge. 

If you are one of the MILLIONS of Americans diagnosed with a mental disorder like: Depression, Bi-polar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, OCD, etc… help spread awareness and break the stigma that’s attached to those names. 

So, what does a mental disorder look like? It looks like human beings. It has no face. It has no specific characteristics. It has no one definition. It has a stigma, and it needs to be broken. 

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