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[Day 21] Understanding Mental Illness

mental illness becomes mental wellness

It’s Day 21 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. My topics to choose from are:

1) How does Invisible Illness affect your life and your business, whether it’s yours or someone in your family’s?

OR

2) How do you balance acknowledging Invisible Illness while still staying positive and not making your whole entire life about your disability?

As you know, I’ve been diagnosed with several mental illnesses. My chart would tell you I have:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
  • ADD (attention deficit disorder)

So I very intimately understand what life is like with an invisible illness. Undoubtedly the lack of understanding is what led me to self-harm (how else could someone know how much I was suffering?), which is why I’ve dedicated my life and this site to helping teens and their families understand, cope and thrive with mental illness.

Through journaling and the other alternative practices shared on this site, I am positive that you too can learn to appreciate these “illnesses” and the people afflicted with them (even if it’s you).

In everything I do I emphasize that those experiencing mental health challenges (or any challenge for that matter) are not their problems, but the person experiencing the challenge.

These are people who are just a little more sensitive, whose minds work a little different, but most of all who really need our help and understanding.

To me, saying I have borderline personality disorder sets me free. Not so I can use it as an excuse, but as a reminder that I process things differently, I react more strongly and must be gentler with myself.

We must learn to love and accept all parts of ourselves – especially those most difficult to love.

That’s when the healing happens.
That’s when you understand what the situation has taught you.
That’s when you won’t need the “disease” anymore.

It’s a process. And we are all works in progress.

Here are some images I found from mollysfund.org, a site dedicated to breaking down the stigma of invisible illnesses such as lupus, digestive disorders, mental illness, etc.

They act as a reminder to be compassionate not just towards others, but to ourselves as well.

10-Things-NOT-TO-SAY-Invisible-ilness-revised-4.14-400x72dpi-web

10-Things-TO-SAY-Invisible-Illness-revised-400-72dpio-web

You might also enjoy a very similar post I made here.

What are your thoughts on this? How has invisible illness affected you or someone you love? Leave me a comment below.

Also: For those who love journaling, sign up for my friend’s 30 Day Digital Journaling Challenge here.

6 replies
  1. Kelly St. Claire says:

    Great and important post! Thank you for being so transparent and open about it. I have been diagnosed with a mental illness as well and it is one thing that I have been a bit hesitant about posting. I am actually working up to a big revealing blog post about it.

    It affects me in all areas of my life. My current partner (who I am in the process of a breakup with) doesn’t understand and I hear ALL of the things on thee ’10 things NOT to say’ This lack of empathy and understanding is a huge part of our issues.

    Reply
    • Carrie Leigh Sandoval says:

      Thank you Kelly. It does affect everything…there is a way to talk to people that can either open them up or shut them down. If I can’t feel (because I’m a feeler) that someone genuinely cares, I won’t talk to them. Same is true of the kids I work with. The communication piece is huge.

      Reply
  2. Andrea Wisden says:

    Hi Carrie. I love the empowerment I can feel from this post. The way you have embraced the label of your illness and made it something positive for you is brilliant. I love it! It’s so important to talk about mental illnesses; until people understand them better, then there will always be fear and ignorance; let’s replace that with love, compassion and understanding. I agree that it is far healthier to embrace whatever emotion you happen to be feeling at the time. When we try to bury something, deny we’re feeling it, or that it’s even there, we are denying a piece of ourselves. Bring it all out into the light of awareness, acknowledge it, and even better if possible, love it. Love that bit of yourself you’ve judged unlovable. It’s where the magic lives. Love to you on your journey. Andrea

    Reply
    • Carrie Leigh Sandoval says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Andrea. I feel like I don’t have the words right now to express my gratitude for everything you said. Refreshed, relieved and connected come to mind. 🙂 Thank you again!

      Reply
  3. Robert James Collier says:

    This is a beautiful post, CarrieLeigh.

    As you’re aware, I’m completely in agreement with you that the topic of mental illness needs to be taken seriously and discussed more openly. It’s beautiful to me that by saying you have borderline personality disorder, it sets you free. How remarkable… What a revelation. And the ability to be comfortable in your own skin with something so seemingly “negative” but, in fact, you’ll flipped that around and made yourself more powerful through acceptance. That really made me smile, and it also confirmed why sharing these thoughts with negative stigmas associated with them makes us feel so free and humbled.

    I admire you for dedicating your life to this cause. I’m grateful to come across people such as yourself, and I wish you all the best.

    As you shared with me, I’ll share with you a post you may like: practicalidealist.net/depression-f-ing-sucks

    Thank you for sharing this with me.

    All the best,

    Robert James Collier

    Reply
    • Carrie Leigh Sandoval says:

      Thank you Robert. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I read your post and I’m going to go read the one you just shared now! Sharing so much is downright terrifying sometimes, but the world (and especially the younger generation) need to see that we are willing to talk about mental illness. And not just talk about it, but accept and embrace it.

      Reply

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