Mental Health

Don’t let your illness define you

It was pointed out to me that we are more than our mental health conditions, so, don't let your illness define you.

Don’t let your Illness define you.

I remember the early days of the aftermath that altered the course of my life. When PTSD ravaged my mental well-being, leaving me in shambles in its aftermath. Becoming void of purpose and lacking direction, I realized that it was time to stop, think and plan.

Because I decided to make a plan, I essentially created a direction to head in. So, where did this direction take me? Well, it took me here, to The Road To Mental Wellness. Helping people by telling my story became my compass, my therapy and ultimately, my saviour.

Finally, I was able to fill the void with purpose once more. I have been helping people for as long as I can remember, so this seemed a perfect fit. I would dedicate my limited energy to being a mental-health advocate. But even this new-found purpose, as exciting as it was, came with its downsides.

Chief among them was my propensity to go full-tilt with things I am passionate about. While putting energy into mental-health issues isn’t a bad thing, it can however, deplete this store of said limited energy in a hurry, and that’s where things get problematic.

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As it turns out, if you delve into something wholeheartedly, you can inadvertently get too close to it. As my psychologist rightly pointed out, “Your illness doesn’t define you.” Her words produced a revelation in my brain. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I was simply thinking I was putting my energy in a positive cause, mental-health avocation.

Don't let your illness define you
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

Although it’s true that where I chose to put my mental resources was and still is a great thing, the algorithm of the internet hits you in the face, all the time. As a consequence, words like mental illness, PTSD, depression and anxiety cross my line of vision more than the beautiful surroundings I’m blessed to be living in.

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Although I love helping others, I do have to prioritize my own recovery. Essentially, what I need, what we all need, is balance. It’s vital for your mental health to walk away from this trap laid by algorithmic behaviours set by stupid social media. Furthermore, it’s good to have other hobbies and to actively pursue them.

How to achieve balance in your life.

Perhaps most important of all, don’t let your illness define you. You are much more than a diagnosis. You are an instrument of wonder and curiosity just waiting to explore that passion you have always thought you weren’t good enough for. I believe in you.

In those momenets

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD.

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More about self-care here

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