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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.

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure 3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment 9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything 10 Vintage Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Awesome

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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