Why I Connect with Others Suffering from A Mental Illness
As a mental health advocate, I would like to share with you how it has been important to me to engage in conversations with other like-minded individuals suffering from a mental illness, and, in turn, share with them some of my own experience in battling my eating disorder, bulimia. I do not think it would have been possible to maintain my eating disorder recovery for a few years by now, without having shared some of my struggles with other people who could relate to my journey simply because they have had to cope with their own issues when it comes to mental health.
I Was Never Alone in My Struggles
Simply said, I came to realize a while back now, that there might be a lot of similarities between my own struggles and those experienced by others suffering from a mental illness. The main difference is that these issues might manifest themselves differently depending on the diagnosis one is given. Whereas I have a history of having battled an eating disorder, some of my friends have experienced various states of depression, self-harm and anxiety while living with their mental illness. Am I that different than them? Is my experience that different than theirs? I'd have to answer "no" on both counts, because regardless of our respective diagnosis, we are able to relate to each other and connect based on the fact that we've experienced similar feelings related to our illness. In my case, knowing that I am not alone and that my experience was never unique helps me to maintain a positive outlook on life and to stay on track in my bulimia recovery maintenance.
My Struggles Are Experienced by Others Too
Connecting with others suffering from a mental illness has not only helped me stay recovered, it has also had a huge impact on my self-esteem as, previously, I could be experiencing feelings that seemed so specific to me and my eating disorder, that it was easy at times to lose touch with reality and think I was the only one in pain. I cannot encourage you enough to initiate conversations in your community, or within your family and group of friends; because, chances are that someone you cross paths with on a regular basis is fighting similar problems that you might be able to relate to and vice versa. What has always come up in the conversations I've had over time with some key people in my inner circle, is that we somehow felt could get better regardless of how often we might have felt helpless to our disease and that there might not be a light at the end of the tunnel.
There was a way out of the darkness but I couldn't have found my way out alone.
Lemoine, P. (2014, August 25). Why I Connect with Others Suffering from A Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2014/08/why-i-connect-with-others-suffering-from-a-mental-illness
Author: Patricia Lemoine
Bravo for you to be so brave and share yourself with the world!
Thank you so much for the nice message. Appreciate your honesty as well. You're absolutely right in saying that online support is a great alternative to F2F when that is not possible. Thanks again Debra!!