• Leah Freeman

Remaining Positive, Despite Challenges

Updated: Sep 28, 2017

So........I have a mental health condition and it definitely has been a challenge in my life. It has been my worst enemy at times, and a source of much pain, turmoil, and heartache. I have been through stages of denial, guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and irritation. It has wreaked havoc and wrecked many things in my life, and many opportunities have been blown due to periods of instability. I am being very honest when I say that dealing with a mental health condition is very, very hard. However, amidst all of its difficulties,....I have reached a certain level of acceptance, self-awareness, and have achieved a relatively good amount of stability. Some people may wonder how can one be positive despite having a mental health condition? What good is there in being "crazy"?........Trust me. I've had moments where I did not see much positive in the situation...........But, I would like to share with you my perspective on all the positive things about having a mental health condition...............


1) We are very empathetic.


I find that having a lived experience in dealing with a mental health condition has made me more sensitive and compassionate towards others who experience a similar challenge. In fact, it makes me generally more understanding toward people who have been through ANY hardship in life, whether it be mental, emotional, situational, or physical. Having been through different stages in my illness, I know what it is like to go through this kind of hardship, which makes me better able to relate to other people's hardship. As I appreciate it when others are able to show empathy toward me, I love to be able to show empathy toward others.


2) We love hard.


Everyone loves the way that they know how or understand to love. Everyone shows love in different ways and expresses it in different styles. Love is a beautiful thing to feel, whether it is the love for a partner, or a friend, or family, or a passion, or a movie, or just a moment in time. I find, in my case, that the level of intensity of the mental and emotional range I go through makes me an extremely loving and passionate person about anyone or anything that I care about. I'm not comparing anyone else's love or passions to mine, ...but I do know that I love hard. I will be the main one who will have a person's back, defend someone I care about, feel very strongly about their welfare, and I am very sensitive about other people's feelings.


3) We are very unique.


Our individuality, unique personalities, and personal ways of expression makes us stand out. Our lived experiences contribute to our having a different take, angle and perspective on life.


4) We are creative innovators.


Think of many of the greatest inventions, creations, innovations, buildings, literature, paintings, music,movements and masterpieces over time. Many of the people behind those things were people with mental health conditions. In order to come up with things so beautiful and magnificent, I truly believe that a touch of "madness" had to be present in those individuals.

Some of the "craziest" ideas have been the most successful. Some of the most famous works started with just one "crazy" thought, dream, or vision, that might not have made any sense to others, but made perfect sense to the people who envisioned them.


5) We are inspirational.


Anyone who goes through what we go through, and is successful in life, or does something great, or touches the lives of others, or helps their communities, or contributes or gives back to the world, or has personal successes, is very inspiring. To make it in this life, in this life, in this world with a mental health condition is a success in and of itself.


6) We are strong.


What is our very weakness, is also are very strength. It takes a strong person to deal with the ins and outs, ups and downs of living with a mental health condition. It is definitely a fight. When we face this hardship, this challenge and make it through, we become stronger, better people for having dealt with it. Whether it is taking on a new business venture, or finding the willpower and motivation just to get out of the bed while depressed, or giving a public talk after years of anxiety, it takes strength to be able to do those things.


7) We are courageous.


It can be a scary thing to face being told you have a mental health diagnosis, and it can be scary to face a long journey of living with it. Going through different phases, from denial to acceptance, from shame to empowerment, .....seeking treatment, going to meeting, and groups, struggling to get better...all takes courage. It takes courage to face ourselves and our condition and take our recovery into our control. It takes courage to get outside of our comfort zone and try new treatment options or adapt new ways of thinking and adjusting to change. That is why we are courageous.


8) We are survivors.


We are here. We are alive. We are a living testament to the power of recovery. Our survival is a magnificent accomplishment that we should give ourselves credit for. We have pulled through, faced adversity, battled stigma and injustice, fought our own thoughts and emotions, faced our fears, gotten help, went to groups and meetings and hospitals and have taken different medications,...all to get to the point where we are at. Sometimes, we should celebrate the fact that we are here, and we are alive!


So......I have a mental health condition..but that is not all there is to me. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a mother, a singer, actress, dancer, poet, artist,......I am a human being. I still have moments where I would rather not have a mental health condition, but I also have moments where I feel as if it is a source of empowerment. Having a positive perspective on it helps me to keep going, keep trying, and to never give up on hope.


Please feel free to share your positive perspectives...........

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