The first thought coming to your mind with this heading would be, how can you even consider Mental illness as a boon. I know it sounds controversial, then be it. I, too, had the same thought in my mind the first time I experienced this hell. Today, I don’t regret it that much when I look back. Yes, I did get a little upset and frustrated when I had a relapse. But these harrowing experiences have only bought the best in me. They have taken me towards a balanced and fulfilling life. Today I will share with you how I also discovered my inner strengths through my mental illness.
Helen Keller is quoted as saying, “When one door closes, another opens, but often we look at the closed door that we do not see the one opened for us.”
When we went through this hell for the first time, how many of us could not accept what was happening to us. We were even more depressed to face the truth of our new abnormal self because we didn’t know what the hell was happening to us. We didn’t even know where to find a solution to a problem like this. And in turn started blaming our destiny, God or circumstances, or even ourselves for stooping to this level of helplessness. I am sure this natural surge of emotions you all must have gone through while suffering through any type of mental illness.
I only realized later that the closed-door served no purpose for me anymore. The open door was accepting the situation at hand. This is where the boon starts unfolding, during your painful phase of accepting yourself and desperate attempt to get back to the start of normalcy. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Still, it just took a sufficient amount of Awareness of my condition and Acceptance of the situation to invite all my strengths that I never knew I had. It helped me experiment and find a way out of this rabbit hole.
Blessing no 1: Gratitude
The first realization I had, except for this feeling of being dead in your own living body, which was just flesh and no part of brain functioning properly, any other pain was bearable to my existence. When I achieved my first feelings of normalcy through meds during my depression, I started living every day with gratitude for being blessed to feel the way all other humans are feeling. And there was no looking back. There are people out there who, despite having good lives, keep cribbing on what they don’t have in their lives for years. Even I was on the same level, except my depression gave me this realization in just one day of what all things were blessings in my life, which I never appreciated.
Blessing no 2: Life long learner
With God’s grace, I have always been an occasional reader. My mental illness gave me more reason to dig deeper through human psychology, Self-help, Spirituality, and emotional wellbeing books, finding the connection between mind, body, and spirit to find solutions and facts about mental illness. My strong drive to come out of this terrible experience only re-ignited the fire of being a lifelong learner and researcher.
Blessing no 3: Self- Awareness and Self- analysis
The remarkable Mystic, Sadguru rightly recognized we humans have gone so far in everything but failed to see our own machine. Which he terms as ‘Inner engineering’.
Day by day, I started improving on my Self-awareness. I started observing closely what I was feeding my mind and when my emotional wellbeing felt at best. This Self-analysis helped me understand myself much better as a human being, my core values, my likes and dislikes, my unconscious patterns of negative self-talk since childhood, my true inner self. This helped me differentiate between what is me and what is not me.
Blessing no 4: Being the best version of myself
If I had never fallen into this rabbit hole, I would have never discovered my inner strengths and talents. I would have lived an unconscious life like every human being on autopilot, wherever it took me to delay my personal growth inside out. These tiny baby steps of self-discovery not only woke up the writer inside me but also made me realize the importance of Holistic living.
Blessing no 5: Redefined the meaning of Spirituality
All my childhood, I had a very vague understanding of Spirituality more in religious terms as being a devotee erased all the pains, everything about good deeds and evil deeds. It never addressed that the God we are searching for already resides inside us, your true inner self, which is not your thoughts, conditioning, or genetics but pure you, a “Worthy soul” that can move mountains if you acknowledge its existence. Whatever you call it, life force, universal energy, God, or higher power. It all exists within us. We just have to make little effort to peel all the adulterated layers of our existence. This is how I strongly started believing in the quote that we are not just human beings going through any experience but spiritual beings going through human experience. This didn’t mean it took away all my pain and suffering. It only taught me to take my own responsibility consciously and be a thriver no matter how difficult the situation is. If you seek through pure heart, you will find a way to come out of it one fine day.
Blessing no 6: Kindness, empathy, and compassion
How many of you have been through a challenging phase in your life? Not necessary that it has to be your mental illness. During this period, whenever you came across someone with similar pain, you felt a sense of empathy, compassion, and kindness building in you because you are feeling similar pain. You wanted to be of some help to them. This pain has only grown me into a more empathetic, kind, compassionate, and balanced person inside out today.
Blessing no 7: Self-love
When the world and your own mind go against you, you are deprived of self-love completely. When we go through such painful experiences, we often are hard on ourselves. We think we deserve it. This is where even I went wrong. One of the critical characteristics of OCD is to instigate the feeling of doubt and guilt. These countless feelings of guilt only drained me of self-love until I decided to forgive myself and learned their intentions one day. This felt so good, as if some burden was lifted from me. I started gradually loving the person I was becoming in this process. Yes, Mental illness is a Ruthless teacher I have ever come across in my entire life. Still, the number of endless blessings in the form of my inner strengths was only this way out.
It all depends on how you choose to heal by growing or blaming the circumstances. What have been your experiences with mental illness? Was it a curse or a boon or a mixture of both?
Notice: The blessings I experienced during my phase is the inner strengths I discovered to help me cope more effectively, not a solution for any illness. Please consult a professional when you are experiencing any sort of mental illness.