When we are unwell we can forget who we are when we are well and stable in our mental health. I have wrote this post to remind myself who I am as a person without mental illness. We are not defined by our struggles, even though they often make us more resilient people. My illness changes me every episode. I am not me even though I have to take full responsibility for my actions and behaviour during them. When I am depressed I become so withdrawn and irritable, often with the people I love. I become self destructive and desperate. When I am manic I am impulsive, reckless, quick-tempered and delusional. Either extreme is nothing like I am when I am well. I like a laugh but I am quite a serious person and I am very resourceful. I wrote a sorta list poem about who I am and what me and others have said are my qualities.
When I am stable I am:
A total klutz
Awkward and sometimes random
Compassionate, but sometimes cares too much
Sensitive and sensible but still fun loving
Strong even when my voice shakes
Trustworthy and loyal
Creative with my crappy poems
Hardworking, curious and motivated
Loving and supportive
Kind and truthful
Determined when I have a goal
A practical idealist
Messy yet organised
Maybe write a list or a poem or even some artwork, symbolising you when you are well. It is difficult but we must learn who we are away from this illness so we can recover and hopefully go back to that or even improve. I am lucky that I have periods of stability between episodes to remind myself who I am, but I still lose touch of who I am from time to time. Just because I was a certain way for months on end during an episode does not mean that is what I am like always. Remember whatever your qualities are, you are an awesome person deserving of peace and happiness. What you are struggling with doesn’t make you a bad person.