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I’m Making My ‘Good Pile’ Grow in the Face of Mental Illness


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how helpless mental illness can make a person feel. I’ve been struggling more than usual. I can’t help but feel frustrated that all the time and effort I’m putting into getting better isn’t producing the results I’d like.

I know life is full of peaks and valleys, but lately, I’ve been finding myself in the valleys more often than I’d like. Accepting that I will just have to ride out the roller coaster ride of mental illness while trying to keep up with my busy life is daunting.

The other day I stumbled across a quote that changed my perspective. The anonymous quote reads, “What if, instead of trying to solve your whole life, you just try to add additional good things? One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”

This quote really got me thinking. It’s physically impossible for me to solve all of my problems right now, but why shouldn’t I focus on what is in my control?

The day after reflecting on this quote, I decided to search for a new volunteer opportunity. I’m now happy to say I’ve applied to be a mentor to a child in foster care, and I hope to keep reaching out for new experiences. I also spontaneously booked a flight for next month to visit family. Throwing all of these good things into my life and giving myself stuff to look forward to has helped me profusely in the past couple of days.

I fully understand that sometimes mental illness is just so difficult that finding the energy to try new things just isn’t possible. Adding something positive to your life certainly won’t cure you, but it definitely can’t hurt. Even something as simple as following an Instagram account full of uplifting quotes could allow you to see just a shred of light among the darkness we often live in. I know what I’m suggesting won’t work for everyone, but I hope sharing my experience thus far can inspire someone to let their “good pile grow.”

Every day may be a battle. Yet, I’ve chosen to fight it with all the tools I can muster. This darkness won’t cast out my light.

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