Is It Okay to Be Grateful for My Mental Illness?
Is it possible to be grateful for mental illness? Some days, I hate having mental health issues and would do almost anything to make them go away forever. But other days, on my better recovery days, I'm almost grateful for my mental illness. It feels weird to be grateful for something that makes me so miserable so often, but at the same time, I think it's the natural result of living with a chronic condition. After all, the reality is that I can't make my mental illness go away, so I might as well find some silver linings.
How I'm Grateful for Mental Illness
I'm Grateful for How I've Grown
A few months back, my husband pointed out that I am not the same happy-go-lucky person I was when we first met, before my mental health troubles really kicked in. I started to cry, thinking that he was mourning the loss of that happier, better version of me, but he quickly assured me that's not what he meant at all. What he'd meant was that he was impressed with how well I'd adapted to the changes in my brain and my life, and how it had led me to a better understanding of myself and the world.
Now, I'm not necessarily saying that I would voluntarily sign up for mental illness just to reap the benefits of being adaptable and having a better understanding of myself, but it seems a little ridiculous to ignore those benefits entirely. Even if the benefits don't outweigh the costs, the benefits are still there, and I intend to appreciate them whenever possible.
Gratitude for Mental Illness Is Not the Same as Romanticizing It
I think one of the biggest reasons I hesitate to advertise my gratitude for my mental illness is because I worry that people will think I'm romanticizing my struggles, like I'm pretending they're a gift, or not so bad, or even that I must be faking if I'm not miserable all the time.
But here's the thing: my mental health issues are chronic, they affect me over and over again, and they are not going away any time soon. If I were miserable about that every second of every day, I would not be able to survive. It's true, sometimes I can't fight the misery and my symptoms keep me from seeing anything to be grateful about, but other days, I feel lucky to have had these issues that led me to examine my life more carefully.
This Thanksgiving, are you thankful for your mental illness? Let me know why or why not in the comments below.
Griffith, M. (2019, November 19). Is It Okay to Be Grateful for My Mental Illness?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/11/is-it-okay-to-be-grateful-for-my-mental-illness