Your Mental Illness Is Not Your Identity


I am in a tumultuous relationship.

Anxiety and depression are my unwelcome houseguests.

They have more than overstayed, making a mess of this body I call home. I tried to make them leave on my own, but I should have known I was not properly equipped. I should have known better, because when I showed them the door, they laughed in my face and scoffed at my feeble attempts.

It takes herculean strength to seek help, to undress all of the wounds and decide to tend to them, at last. There are many moving parts in the expedition of healing. From therapists to family physicians to the pharmacists who fill your prescriptions, they all witness me in arguably my most vulnerable state.

So, it not only takes formidable strength to seek help. I can say this with confidence because I remember the very first time I picked up my prescription for antidepressants. I was so afraid, all I could do was sit at the kitchen table with the little bottle of hope in front of me and choose life. I had to choose to take my life back from the illness that ailed me. It takes the kind of strength you never knew you were capable of to not only seek the help you crave, but to then stay within your healing, to see it through to the finish line.

Healing is a grind, and it is a decision you make every day to keep choosing you. You need to believe, with wild courage, that you are worthy of the life you dream of. You need to believe that you deserve to take up space in the world, that your story matters, that all of your curves and edges and flawed pieces matter. When you choose healing, you make the decision to return to the ring day after day and fight. Your knuckles may be bruised and bloody, your ears may ring from absorbing hit after hit, but you are a living, breathing example of a total warrior.

There isn’t a single moment of this long, heart wrenching, and glorious self-love hike that is simple or linear. You do not just wake up one day and decide you’ve arrived at your destination. No, healing means you are in a constant state of growth. Each day, you are unfolding into a beautiful human being. That also means leaning into the discomfort that comes with stretching and expanding. Do you feel those aches and pains? Good, because that means you are evolving into someone you love seeing in the reflection of every mirror you pass, every window you walk by.

This trek is not meant to be easy; it is not for the faint-hearted. But you need to believe that you will see the fruits of your labor. Trust that the best days of your life are still on their way to you. Trust that you deserve every blessing that comes to you. Please believe in that untamed, barefoot-in-the-dirt, dancing in the pouring rain, wild and whimsical beauty that’s within you. Please believe that you are worthy.

You are so worthy.