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Why I Cling to My Mental Illness

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This came up today in therapy when my therapist was talking about how I tend to spin things in a negative manner, no matter how positive things are in my life. I’m a pessimistic person. I grew up learning to pick out the things that needed improvement, the negatives. I still struggle to see the glass half full. I’m more of a glass half empty type of gal.

It is really hard for people around me to hear that I cling to my mental illness. I cling to it like a safety blanket, like a wall I put up around me. This wall is really high, and I don’t know how to break it down. I fear if I break it down, the friendships I have made while in the deep depths of my illness will disappear on me. I fear I will become an egotistical, self-centered Asian b**** with no concern for others. I fear I will lose touch with reality and become self-absorbed. I don’t want to become this person. I feel like staying in my illness is much safer than changing to become a happier person.

I live in fear, fear of the past, fear of the future. So how do I live in the present moment? How can my fears not hijack me from enjoying the moments I have with my dog, my friends, my family?

I was telling my therapist I don’t deserve this life I have, that I don’t deserve anything, and she responded by saying it is sad. It is sad I can’t see what she sees: a young, deserving, wonderful young lady sitting across from her. How can I come to see the person people around me see? What do I need to do?

Change is hard, I know. Change is especially hard for me. Thus I cling to my mental illness like a safety blanket because it is protective, it is constant, it is always with me. I may not be willing to let go now, but I’m willing to take the first step in breaking down the wall I have put up, and maybe, just maybe, slowly starting to reveal my true colors to the world around me.

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Stock photo by karinsasaki

Originally published: November 4, 2016
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