There was a time, dare I remember, where I had become the very thing that I resent in this modern day. A lifetime of abuse and bullying had left me so bitter and angry, acting out was the only way I could deal with it and sadly, that meant I hurt a fair few people. I felt so alone and hurt, that I wanted others to feel the pain I did because I didn’t think it was fair that I was suffering while others got a life of luxury in comparison.
At this time, I did not understand mental illness, I just sort of felt like the universe was against me and that nothing would ever go right in my life. I suppose I wanted to let the world burn with me. I did not want to admit that there was a problem with me, it was just easier to blame others.
But as the years have passed, I have learnt so much about my mental health and my own self, I have managed to let go of all the pain and hurt and turn this pent-up energy into something so much better, understanding.
I have learnt that I cannot change my past or who I am, but I can control the way I respond and act in certain situations and to those people around me. I won’t deny that I do feel an element of shame of what I have done in the past, out of bitterness, but I also have to remember, that even the bad parts of our past are important, as they shape us and allow us to grow.
Today, I feel so much lighter because I am not only accepting of my own mental illness but I am really understanding of others and their mental health. I no longer respond to bullies with a vengeance because I know that they are hurting too. I no longer get bitter about snap comments because I know it’s just projecting. I no longer take everything so personally as not everything is in my control. I essentially focus on the bigger picture because I know that there is always more to a person than meets the eyes, sometimes we just need to listen and open our eyes.
Being able to talk about my lived experiences is a beautiful thing, as it allows me to be more understanding and non-judgemental to literally everyone who talks to me now. I can use my experience of being both in the dark depths of depression and sailing the high of recovery, to give the perspective of the reality of life and how everyone goes through some tough hurdles in life. It doesn’t matter who a person is, if they need to talk or they need a friend, you bet that I’ll be there with a shoulder at the ready.
I now know that I had to go through my own anger, my pain and my battle with mental illness to be able to understand why people act out or distance themselves. Though the past is not something that I am fond of, it has been vital to allow me to do what I do today, which is helping others. We can only really understand if we have walked in the same or similar shoes as another, so our mistakes do not always need to be a bad thing, sometimes we can take it as a lesson and broaden our minds.
So, for that, I am thankful for having my mental illness because it has led to my passion and ability to understand others more than ever. I cannot change my life and I am not sure I want to, I am so happy to be able to do what I do and provide support to anyone who needs it.
My thanks to Charlotte for taking the time to write this superb guest blog for me.