Many of us struggle with some kind of mental illness. No matter what causes you pain in your mind and heart you are still capable of progressing and growing. While there are periods in your life that are filled with darkness or confusion you still have the ability to choose. Isn’t that amazing? Although we do not have the power to control our mental illness we do have the power to control how we react to them and deal with them. If we are choosing to cope with them in healthy ways then why would it be impossible to grow, learn, and progress? Why would our experience in those areas be any different than someone who does not struggle with a mental illness?
There is a very specific behavior that would cause us to become stagnate. I have observed this behavior and experienced it myself. We impede our own ability to grow when we use mental illness as an excuse or blame our character flaws on our illness. I’m not saying that you should beat yourself up for having a day you lay in bed when your depression is too heavy. Or to punish yourself for not talking to someone you wanted to talk to because your social anxiety was too overwhelming. I’m saying that when you consistently remove personal responsibility from any situation because of your mental illness you are impeding your self growth. There is a huge difference between saying, ” I felt too anxious to talk to him this time, I’ll try next time” and saying “I always feel too anxious when I try to talk to people I don’t know very well, there’s nothing I can do about it.” There’s a huge difference between saying “I felt too depressed today to leave the house and do my homework, I’ll try tomorrow” and saying “My depression is so bad that I can never get anything done, there’s no reason for me to even try to accomplish things that are important to me”. The second mindset surrenders all ability to choose and change your actions and feelings. The first mindset consciously shows self compassion, the ability to choose, and the opportunity to grow mentally and emotionally.
Stop using mental illness as an excuse. Don’t put your negative crap on others because you don’t want to change. It’s harmful to you and the people you love. You can’t lash out at your sister because you’re anxious at a party and then tell her she can’t be hurt because you have anxiety. That’s not okay. You can’t stop showing up to your college classes with no explanation because you’re depressed. It’s still your responsibility to take care of yourself and your life even if you are suffering internally. Mental illness is not an excuse to let opportunities and relationships slip through your finger tips. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and own your troubled mind.