11 Things I Learnt While Living With Mental Illness by Jasper Turpie

If you’re uncomfortable in your physical situation, you can leave. You can walk away. You can also release the breath you’ve been holding.

Sometimes the best advice comes from the most unexpected of places. People you thought might never know what they’re talking about, might actually have something valuable to add to your situation.

Surround yourself with the people that understand you. They don’t necessarily have to make you happy- or be ‘positive’. Old friends can often show up when you didn’t know you needed them. A smile will get you through anything.

Your doctor is there to help you get better! Your doctor wants to see you alive and well. They didn’t spend 7 years training to heal the sick, just for you to shy away because you aren’t sure that you need help. A real M.D is better than Google M.D. Out of all the people in the world, your doctor will understand you. They want to see you get better.

Take a day off when you need it. Mental health is just as important as physical health- even though it can’t be measured by a thermometer. If you need a day, take that day. Get back to it tomorrow. Whatever it is, you know it will wait for you.

If someone is trying to best your experience with mental illness; the “I’ve got it worse”- try to remove them from your immediate circle. It is unacceptable for others to undermine you and your experience in order to gain sympathy. “Oh, you’re having a bad day? Well if it makes you feel better, I’m having a worse day, so you should take pity on me”. Typically, this is called one-upmanship. It’s also not helpful for your situation.
Staying inside is not good for you. If you do only one thing today- go outside. Spend 5 minutes breathing fresh air into your lungs, soaking the sun into your skin. Nature is the body’s best recharging station. What you feel outside will help you stay grounded, and new air will cleanse your system.

Find a new love of learning. Find something new and dedicate yourself to it. A new hobby, reading, spilling words onto paper, a new musical endeavour. You may find your passion, but only commitment will achieve positive results. Sometimes they can come in handy during sleepless nights.

Social media is not always going to be kind to you. This kind of technology will sometimes haunt you. Using your public forum for an avenue to vent your personal issues can backfire on you faster than you can click ‘post’. The truth is, not everyone wants to listen. Find someone you can talk to over hot chocolate and a movie- your future you will thank you for it.

Don’t worry if you need medication. Sometimes it’s best if something else takes over for a little while. Again, your doctor will know what you need, and if you have concerns then voice them! A daily internal battle is incredibly draining, that’s why sometimes you need someone else to take over for you.

You are your best self defence against you. You are your body’s front line. Telling yourself ‘no’ so much can eventually lead to you believing your own authority. Obtrusive thoughts can sneak up on you, but you can bite back. Your internal battle will never make sense to anyone else but you.

by Jasper Turpie