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When Living With a Mental Illness, Don't Forget to Live

There is more to you than what is wrong.

That doctor said you were anxiety’d, depressed, bipolar’d, schizophrenia’d or OCD’d? They like to tell you what’s wrong. I get it. There must be something wrong with someone who overthinks everything all the time.


Place a label on my thought structure. I will sit and take your medicine. But there are worlds that you have not thought of.  Therapies that I am on the cutting edge. I have a PhD in late night dance parties. I am summa cum laude of emotional rants about truth. I just wrote a dissertation on how hot and sweet love can drip off your tongue.

There is more to me than what it is wrong. It takes a person in a box to place a person in a box. There are so many boxes, it feels like I have just moved a thousand times. How many houses do I have to live in, to keep going forward in my life?

There is more to my life than echoed pasts of what you said in your manual. There is more to life than your diagnosis check list. I prefer step by step instructions to find joy. Step one, step out of your comfort, step two, jump and fly, step three, feel the wind on your face, thermals under your wings.

I take your medication to make sure it’s safe for me to walk through the world. But also try hugs and support and cradling my head as I lay down at night, listening to the world take me away. There is always a thought of death, loss, suicide, anxiety, pang, paranoia, always incessant, always oozing.

Step into my office and I will show you what it is to love. I will show you what it is to look at yourself and see that there is actually nothing wrong with you. There is nothing to fix, break, flip over, change, reboot, compress, tighten or even speed up. 

Try theirs, but also try mine. Try sitting with a newspaper and a hot cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, try running and screaming until your heart gives out, try drinking a cool glass of water, try diving into icy oceans, try staring at the sky and catching snowflakes, try letting a puppy lick your face, try turning on the light to see there actually aren’t any monsters under the bed, they are just in your head.

Instead of running from that achy haze, turn around and float yourself into its gravity. You are alive. Live it when you can. Ride waves of unconscious pain. Some doctors will tell you what you need to do to get by. I think about the thrive.

Follow this journey on Adventures of a Little Boy.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us a story about a time you encountered a commonly held misconception about your mental illness. How did you react, and what do you want to tell people who hold his misconception? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.