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3 Ways To Conquer A Life Invaded By Mental Illness

3 Ways To Conquer A Life Invaded By Mental Illness

One morning, ten years ago, I woke up and couldn’t move. I thought I was dying. Of course, I wasn’t, but ever since that morning, I’ve been on a crazy journey, fighting mental illness (depression and social anxiety) the entire way.

I can’t say that it’s been an easy road; it hasn’t been easy or simple. But it’s been rewarding, and I hope my thoughts can help you if you suffer from mental illness. Many people struggle silently with depression at some point in their lives, yet most don’t talk about it because of the stigma which surrounds mental illness.

Here are a few steps that have helped me, and others, overcome the pain of dealing with a mental illness.

1. Accept the Fact that You Suffer

We’ve all heard that the first step is the hardest to take. The first step to overcoming mental illness is acceptance, and it’s viciously difficult.

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Society and marketing have taught us that we need to be perfect. If we aren’t perfect, we are failures. I don’t know about you, but I hate failing, so life was tough for a long time.

I was filled with shame because I suffered from depression, and I didn’t want to be seen as weak. So, I put on a brave face and increased my anxiety to a point where I couldn’t talk on the phone without vomiting.

It’s okay to not be perfect. And it’s okay to suffer from mental illness. Once you accept that, it will be far easier to move to the next step.

2. Accept It the Right Way–You Are Not a Victim

Ever since I’ve started writing and speaking about my experiences with overcoming depression, a flood of people, secretly suffering, have shared their stories with me.

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One problem, unfortunately, is that many of them accept depression in the wrong way. They feel stuck like a magnet to a fridge and think that they will be depressed forever. The good news: nothing could be further from the truth.

Depression isn’t a choice, but the way you handle depression is.

The victim mentality will keep you unhappy, and it could lead to a life of locking yourself in your room and hiding from the world, like I did at one point.

Happiness might try to elude those who suffer more than those who do not, but it’s worth the fight, and trust me, you will enjoy happiness on a higher level because you had to work to get there. And once you get there, you will be grateful for the tough times.

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Never quit on yourself, ever.

3. Come to Grips With Who You Are

A huge part of my recovery was coming to grips with who I am. I am an introvert with a sprinkle of extrovert qualities. We all crave to be the popular kids, and I did too. But unless you’re a loud kid, who is willing to experiment with life and enjoy being around a lot of people, then it can be tough.

I was–I am–a quiet guy. Being the life of the party was never in the cards for me. It’s just not who I am.

I learned a lot about myself during my recovery. I learned baseball doesn’t have to be my life, even if it was almost a career path at one point. Just because I was doesn’t mean I am.

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It may sound trivial, but baseball was a big delusion in my life. I played Division I, and my Junior College won the JUCO II World Series, and my JUCO inducted me into their Hall of Fame in 2010. Baseball was always a part of me. Whenever I came home to visit, everyone would ask me about baseball: How is baseball going? When are we going to see you on TV? Are you a big college coach yet?

Baseball defined me, and until I came to grips with the fact baseball isn’t who I am, it was tough to get over some of my mental struggles.

You are not defined by anything other than yourself. Be who you want to be and how you want to be it.

I’m a writer. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It just took a while to come to terms with it.

More by this author

Daniel CJ Grant

Daniel is the author of "Notes from a Failure". He writes about failure and success.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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