So you have a passion, and…… You have a mental illness. Now what? How does one chase a dream through the foggy dark world of dread, convince their mental health condition to behave, just well enough to make any given dream a reality? This question is something I have wrestled with since I was in my teens. Fortunately, the majority of the time, I have been able to come out on top, fighting through the fog to have a few dreams realized.
Sadly, there have been times in my life when I have also been blinded by this fog the degree where I literally lost my way. This round, I am really lost and for the first time, I have no idea how to find my way back on the road to mental wellness. At least this is how it feels. That said, I’ll be dammed if I remain lost forever. I have things I want to do, goals I need to complete, so I will crawl my way out if I must.
You might be saying, “it’s great to be so determined, but how do you plan to do that when you struggle to leave the house?” Well, I live by two words, acceptances and customization. As far as I’m concerned, acceptance and customization are fundamental for success when one is on a life long mental health roller coaster ride.
Before going any further, I must explain why I have adopted these two concepts into my life’s journey. If your journey is as turbulent as mine has been, then you need to find something to help you be as functional and productive as you can. Hence, for me, acceptance and customization are how I achieve my goals and dreams.
Acceptance seems fairly straightforward, simply embrace what’s in front of you and get over it. But, as anyone with anxiety, for example, can tell you, that “just accept it” doesn’t work. Try running an electronic without a battery. Many others with different mental disorders also can’t easily turn it off. Mentally ill, your mind is hijacked, whilst the mentally well is more adept at not getting stuck on their troubles.
I know I can’t simply get over what my brain does (illness) so I have to accept it. I may never be able to extend my threshold far enough to get back to where I once was mental. Acknowledging this allows me to build a life that is within my range of normalcy. (Customization) I believe that we are all on a spectrum of sorts, some can go full speed, all the time, others, this simply isn’t so. It isn’t so because it just can’t be so.
I am now trying to tailor my life around what I can do and not what I can’t. If there are days when I can’t face the day as I did yesterday then I don’t. If all I can do today is finish writing this sentence, I’m ok with that. I will get the pics up tomorrow.
Writing is wonderful, not only for its creative freedom but also for its inherent flexibility. It doesn’t care if I leave it half done, til I am well enough to pick it up again. I want to totally customize my life off of, and around writing. I will succeed in my quest to live again! How do you customize your life so you can get busy pursuing your dreams with mental illness?
if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!
I am a mental health advocate and mental health blogger. I Have my own battles with mental illness and want to share my story.
"Telling my story of my mental wellness journey, hoping that it will help others along the way."
View all posts by Jonathan Arenburg