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To Anyone With a Mental Illness Wondering If You'll Get Through Today

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I know how hard you struggle. I know some days you don’t know if you can get up or get through your day. You don’t know if you will make it until night or even through the night. The nights are the worst, aren’t they?

I know you probably feel like you have failed. You might feel like you have no grip on structure and that you have no containment on the worst parts of yourself. Like the tears, your dignity flows away. I know how hard you struggle. Please, have hope. Hope that you can help yourself. Hope that you can keep going. Don’t let the stigma of your illness stop you from seeing the sunshine.

Every day, just once a day, step foot into the daylight, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Feel that? You’re still here. You’re alive. You’ve made it one more day. That, my friend, is a massive achievement. You keep fighting, not because you are weakened by your illness, but because you are inherently strengthened by it.

Always celebrate your wins, no matter how small you may think they are. If you don’t feel you are up to whatever it is you need to accomplish today, then forgive yourself. Always forgive yourself. With each forgiveness, you will become stronger and you will realize, hundreds of “I forgive yous” later, there was nothing to forgive in the first place.

Your achievements should never be measured on the litmus test of your peers. Don’t be bogged down by dogmatic normalcy. You don’t follow the current. You travel on a different river of life. Yet, just because you don’t go by the same boat as the masses, doesn’t mean you don’t have a destination.

Celebrate the parts of yourself that make you unique. Cherish those parts. Nurture them so they can grow. Even if you can hardly see those parts of yourself, I promise you, they are still there. They just need a little attention. When you watch them grow, you will feel it right down to your bones.

When you see your accomplishments start to flourish, one building upon the other, growing around you, you will start to feel just a shred of dignity. Maybe even a little capability and quite possibly some small semblance of self-love.

The person you are is not the condition that is threatening to take over your life. You need to remember that, even if you have to write it down every day. Say it to yourself as you struggle to get ready in the morning. Say it when your heart races with the thought of stepping foot outside your front door. Just keep saying it to yourself.

Channel that rage into determination, the sadness into grief and the grief into love. Love and determination. That’s who you are. It’s a fight, I know. Every single day is the bloody fight of your life, it seems. Thinking about the future brings far too much fear to face today. So don’t think about that. Think about how far you have come.

The fact that this condition hasn’t claimed you is testament to your fortitude. You’re a champion. So find that light in your life. Maybe it’s the smallest pinhole of light, but hold onto that. It may feel impossible today, but that’s the funny thing about life. It’s full of amazing impossibilities.

You are just one of them. You are one of those incredible stories of strength, courage and resilience. Even when you can’t even get out of bed, you are still a superhero. Remember that.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: October 18, 2016
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