All of these words keep on popping up on twitter, due to some of the people I follow, and I feel enormously humbled and inspired by them. It blows my mind when I think about how many people are having to manage various mental health illnesses. (1 in 4 if you'd forgotten.....!!)
Its also becoming more apparent to me that my illness is just a small part of who I am, its not the main bit....
2 years ago, it did feel like all of my mind and body was depression and anxiety. It had buried all of my personality, stripping me back to a brittle, hollow shell.
But now, after all this time, I have slowly begun to rebuild myself. Hurrah!
When you are a 'service user' in the mental health system, passed along through doctors, therapists and psychologists, you are labelled. I guess you need to be... They need to know if you're suicidal, what thoughts you have, do you hear voices, how much alcohol you drink...blah blah blah..They like to have boxes ticked and answers given. The worst is when they make you fill in a form rating your mood between 1 and 10. I think I refused to do it last time actually, I told them that I couldn't define my mood by a number! Ha.
However helpful these labels are for doctors and for a diagnosis, they aren't so helpful when you step out into the world. They can make you feel different and cut off from people. Misunderstood and alone. It can seem like you're never going to get better, that you're a lost cause. That your illness is the only part of you left, because its the only thing ruling your mind.
I tell you now peeps (ha, I'm so American), that's the black dog talking.
Its whispering to you. Its trying to bring you into the darkness.
And it needs a smack round the chops.
You will discover yourself again.
You will find something you like about the world.
What you love.
(You probably already know what you hate...)
You will learn something you like about you.
You will become more than a label.
You will become you.
Survivor. Recovery Warrior. Fighter.