The other side of mental illness

I’ve recently come to realize that when people think of mental illness, they are often misinformed and tend to believe that people will mental illnesses are all raving lunatics who should be locked up in an insane asylum. While this doesn’t really surprise me considering the stigmatization of mental illness, it does disappoint me.

I have decided to fight back against these misguided beliefs and share some information about myself that people might not generally think about as being characteristic of someone with a mental illness. So here goes:

1. I am a straight A student (When you actually think about this one it makes sense; perfectionism is common among eating disorder sufferers)

2. I am musically inclined! I play three instruments, my favorite being guitar 🙂

3. I don’t drink or do drugs.

4. I love  writing and I hope to one day publish a book.

5. I am highly respected by my peers for being responsible and dedicated.

6. I do not have a criminal record of any sort (I know, shocker right? Do you really think mental illness is responsible for that much criminal behavior?)

7. I’m planning to move into my own apartment in the next year (yepp, that’s right, you can be independent even with a mental illness or five)

8. I love reading

9. I am capable of drawing relatively well when I put my mind to it

10. I consider myself to be a fairly creative person

11. Most of the time I am a happy person to be around (mind you some of this is a mask, but I am still capable of pulling it off)

12. I set goals and I know how to achieve them

13. I have had a job since I was 14 and until recently I was working 3 jobs (and you thought we weren’t able to contribute to society 😉 pfft)

14. I am terrible at sports

15. I am a relatively “normal” 20 year old woman who happens to be dealing with some struggles.

Now I know some of these points are rather mundane and don’t really prove that much, however, these points go to show you the normalcy in my life compared to individuals who might feel as though people who suffer from mental illnesses are completely crazy. My interests and talents serve to demonstrate that even “normal” people can be suffering from a mental illness.

While mental illness can and often is debilitating, I also wanted to demonstrate that it is entirely possible to function on a day-to-day basis while dealing with a mental illness. It is not easy and there are certainly ups and downs, but it is possible to have a “normal” life even if you have a mental illness.

I hope this proves that I am just as human as any other person out there. I am not crazy. I am still 100% capable of living my life, working my jobs, going to school, having a social life. Sure, these things might present extra challenges to me as a result of my struggles, but that doesn’t mean I should be treated as any less of a person because of it. I am who I am. I have my own battles to fight but I’m sure you do to. I won’t hold your struggles against you so please don’t hold my mental illnesses against me.

xo

Ayla

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