skip to Main Content

I'm Good because I Own my Mental Illness

  I’m proud to join the I’m Good campaign hosted by P.E.E.R.S. (Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services). This proactive, pro-mental health organization has created this campaign to raise awareness of mental illness — and mental health — issues during Mental Health Awareness Month. Join in and and share how YOU are good! I'm Good badge   Like many of the millions of people living with mental illness, I haven’t always been good. My most “ungood” period involved five stays in a behavioral health hospital over the course of a couple years. Under Armour Curry 3 I was admitted for the first time because of a plummeting ability to function in daily life. It was a result of a traumatic brain injury sustained in a car accident, or so I believed. Early on, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. But that was wrong, I said. I had a brain injury, not mental illness. I grew increasingly “ungood” throughout the revolving-door treatment. I was “ungood” when my employer politely let me go when it was discovered that I was hospitalized, not in a regular hospital for brain injury stuff, but in a behavioral health hospital for mental illness. I was “ungood” when friendships ended. Air Jordan 4 Retro
I’m happy to say that I didn’t stay “ungood.” People are resilient, and I began to remember that I was a person, too (I didn’t always believe that), and as such I possessed the strength to bounce back. I started to become good when I started to take charge of my life and gain control. At first, though, becoming good through taking charge didn’t quite work because I was doing it wrong. I was trying to take charge of my life by ignoring and outright denying that I had bipolar disorder. It. Was. The. Head. Injury. Period. Turns out, it wasn’t. Looking back over my life, it is very obvious that I have lived with bipolar 1 disorder since young adulthood and perhaps even adolescence. It intensified and grew entirely unmanageable and undeniable after the brain injury, but the brain injury was neither the cause nor the explanation. Just the catalyst that led to diagnosis. Air Max 90 Femme
Yet for a couple years after the diagnosis, I continued to live in denial. I went off my medication once I felt stable because of course I didn’t need it. Golden State Warriors I needed it. Symptoms returned with a vengeance. That’s when I finally stopped denying it. nike air max 2017 femme noir And when I stopped denying it, it stopped controlling me, and I finally became good. Doudoune Parajumpers Pas Chere In owning the fact that I do, indeed, have a mental illness, I have taken charge of my life. Parajumpers Masterpiece Roosevelt I willingly take medication because it keeps me good. Northwestern Wildcats And I stopped beating myself up for losing a job because of psychiatric hospitalization. I realized that I didn’t want that job anyway, and I became free to take control and choose what I wanted to do in life. That was a good feeling. I gave myself permission to follow my passion. I gave myself permission to use my experience with mental illness to help the world develop empathy for those who live with it. The novels I write feature characters living with mental illness. Adidas Pantalons I hope to show what mental illness is really like. I do what I love to help increase understanding of and empathy for real-life people who live with mental illness. I have taken charge of my life, and I am good. I am good because I have owned and taken control over bipolar 1 disorder and anxiety disorders. I have incorporated them into my life to help others be good.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I have been on and off medication since I was 13 years old. I’m now 46. All the times I stopped was my own decision without even telling the doctor. I also was hospitalized many times, but I was never “diagnozed” with anything except PTSD. I wish I know better what is my problem.

    1. Ugh. It’s sounds like a journey that’s been frustrating at times! The medication component to treating mental illness is hard. It was really difficult for my doctors to find the right meds, and the effects of trying something, scrapping it, trying something else, and so on were neither comfortable nor pretty. And I went off mine completely, too, because as soon as they were working, I was sure I didn’t need them (I had finally healed from the head injury, right?). I did need them, so I went back on. I’m glad I did. The key is getting the right diagnosis (which isn’t always easy because symptoms overlap) so the right medication can be discovered. If you think there are other things going on in addition to PTSD, you have the right to find the right doctor for you. I hope you are in (or close to) an area with multiple doctors so you can meet with different ones to find someone who will be a good fit and treat you like you’re on a team with him/her. The process can be long, but it’s worth it when you find someone who will explore the path with you.

  2. The only reasons why I used to stop the medication was out of frustration because I felt no difference at all, and because of weight gain. The last psychiatrist I saw in Canada said that depression, anxiety, and suicide are only symptoms of very severe and complexe PTSD, and she recommends that I don’t take any treatment but follow a therapy. I’m still on 2 antidepressants (recommendation of my family doctor)

    1. I can see why you’d want to stop medication when you feel no positive difference, only negative side effects! Severe/complex PTSD can be so difficult to treat (I’m not telling you anything you don’t know). Therapy isn’t a quick fix, but it can be helpful. Perhaps the anti-depressants and therapy (when you find the right therapist for you) will allow you to take little step by little step toward healing. Many people don’t understand the severity of complex PTSD. I know that of course things won’t just go away, buy you can create positivity in your life. And know that, even though it might feel like it sometimes, you’re not alone.

      1. Thank you very much Tanya. I’m glad to read your blog. I used to read only your posts on Healthy Place when you took over after Jodi. Thank you for your encouragement. I need it, mainly today.

        1. I’m happy to learn that you’re a Healthy Place reader! Thanks for giving me a chance after Jodi left. 🙂 So glad we’re connected out and about online. Doing what you’re doing — reading pertinent info, engaging — is part of the path to well-being. And while everyone does have their own unique experiences, it really is true that you’re not alone. One thing all people have in common is the need for encouragement, some days more so than others. I’m glad you found some today!

  3. Powerfully written, Tanya. I think we are all on a journey to find the “I am good” place within ourselves, but those with a mental illness have the added uphill battle of living in a society that stigmatizes. As a former therapist, I saw how much of a fight it was. Maybe with more eloquent writers like yourself coming forward and telling their story, the ill-informed attitudes will start to change and we can get to that place of, “We are good.”

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Diane! I couldn’t agree with you more that all humans work to find meaning within (that’s the existentialist in me peeking out), but the stigma associated with mental illness makes the journey that much more difficult for those living with any type of mental illness. I have a feeling you saw many examples of this when you were a therapist (well, even if you’re not practicing, you still are a therapist!). I really think that with so many people doing things they can do to increase awareness, the stigma will decline because surely in most cases stigma stems from a lack of understanding rather than inherent cruelty. After all, we all are good! I appreciate your comment!

  4. Great post Tanya. I fully relate with the “good and ungood” I believe that to get to the “good” stage acceptance is a major step.
    I don’t know anyone who wants a mental illness, but for some, that is the luck of the draw. We have to accept it before we have any chance of moving on becoming “good” with our situation.
    I understand that the stigma that exists in society and our own thoughts certainly contribute to the ability to accept a mental health diagnosis. I believe that the stigma will be reduced with ongoing education and a few brave people being prepared to speak out.
    Thankyou for this post. I could really resonate with it.

    1. Hi Ian,
      Thank you for reading and for sharing your comment! I see we’ve connected out and about online, and I’m very much looking forward to our connection. It’s enjoyable to meet like-minded people. I completely agree that education and bravery will go a long way toward ending stigma. Education in its various forms will bring understanding and empathy, and that will make it easier (but not fully easy) for people to speak out. It’s great that we’re in this together and that so many others are in it, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
×Close search
Search