I’ve seen a couple of YouTube videos like “what I’ve learned in my 20s”, so I’ve been inspired to write about what I’ve learned from my mental illness. Having a mental illness is usually seen as a negative thing, but here I’ve listed the positive life lessons I’ve learned from it, to show that it’s not all that bad in the end. This isn’t listed in any particular order of importance; all things I’ve learned have uniquely impacted my life and who I am today. Here it is:

1) Balance is extremely important in life. It’s easy to get caught up with school or work, but to keep a healthy mind by taking time to myself is extremely important to relax and re-energize myself.

2) I wasn’t alone with what I experienced. It may seem that I had symptoms that no one else has had, or that no one I knew had a mental illness, but I was surprised with what others had gone through once I started talking about it.

3) I became more inclusive and less judgemental to others. I realized that people have a lot more to them than just what they portray. Everyone has a story to tell.

4) No matter how hard I hit rock bottom in life there is always a way to go back up again. Life is a constant roller coaster, when it goes down it must come back up, and then eventually level off. When I was extremely depressed I genuinely thought this is how the rest of my life would be, but luckily my life did go up to have me become a better person.

5) I learned so much more about myself than I ever had in your entire life. I realized what triggers me, what makes me happy, what type of people make me happy, and what I want in life.

6) I also learned so much more about others and mental health in general. The more mental health related things I got involved with the more I learned from others real life experiences that adds to my knowledge of the subject.

7) To not rely on others too much. Every night I can’t dump all of my mental worries and problems on someone else. I need to take some time to myself to reflect on it first and then discuss it with someone else.

8) I realized who in my life is truly there for me and cares. There were family and friends that have stuck with me through the ups and downs of my mental health, through hospital visits and breakdowns, which has showed how much they care and love me. Those are the people who are here in my life to stay.

9) Recovery is more than just medication and traditional therapy, it’s a unique journey that I choose. It can be with my hobbies, friends, peer support groups, yoga, meditation, the options are endless.

10) It opens new doors for career paths. The help I received inspired me to help others with their recovery and has allowed me to pass on the knowledge of what I learned. That’s the main reason that I choose a child and youth worker path, and that I write in this blog, to share what I’ve learned and to inspire others. Hopefully this post has helped you see the positives in having a mental illness.

About Elena B.

Elena is a 21 year-old college student, sales associate, and volunteer living with depression and generalized & social anxiety. Formally diagnosed with social anxiety in high school, Elena has struggled with it for the majority of her life. During her first year of university she experienced high levels of anxiety and had her first major depressive episode, which was followed by another the following year. Since then she has been recovered and focuses on her recovery daily. She currently runs a tumblr blog, where she shares inspirational quotes, images, and tips to help others with their recovery. Follow Elena’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog.

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