Self-Worth, “Normal Life,” and Mental Illness

This week was one of the worst weeks of my life.  I discovered I had an early miscarriage and have alternated between crying uncontrollably to having complete anxiety meltdowns.  At first, I didn’t want to write this post, I wanted my blog to be full of encouragement and I find that sometimes reading negative posts can bring someone down.  However, I am sure every mental illness patient will know, there are many days when this road seems almost impossible. Plus, have anxiety, like life, is a journey and the journey is rarely ever smooth.

My first reaction was why would God be so cruel to give a person with mental illness a miscarriage?  This was too much.  Then, I went through a phase of asking myself if people with mental illness should a even try pursuing a “normal life” (whatever that truly means)? Should we fall in love?  Should we get married?  Should we get pregnant?  Then, the hard hitting questions seem to befall me.  Should I even have a baby and possibly past on my mental illness to my baby?  Am I being selfish?

I called my doctor and said “Am I over my head? Whereby, he replied that I should just go take some long walks before I decided anything.

It has been a week now and I have calmed down a bit.  I can’t say I have figured it all out.  Although, there is one thing that has become more clear.  There is no way that love for someone could solely be based on if they are healthy or not.  Most importantly, in the wedding vows, it does say in “sickness and health.”  Children though?  I don’t know.  My partner says that if you don’t have children due to your mental illness than you have given in to the illness.  Then, my doctor said that there are many people who don’t have children who are totally inadequate parents.  Of course, at the end of the day, this is a personal decision and I don’t hope to cause any controversy.

All I know right now is that I open my eyes and the sun is out and I still have to get up and continue to walk this journey called life.  If it is true that everything is fated, there isn’t much else I can do except continue breathing and living.

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Anxiety and Guilt

Guilt.  It is something I struggle with all the time as someone with mental illness.  Guilty that my wonderful partner has to be with someone who is not equally as wonderful.   How could someone who has mental illness be considered worthy of that love?  Guilty that I have to make my family and friends worry.  Guilty I have to call them up whenever I am not doing well and waste their precious time trying to talk me off an emotional cliff.  The list can go on and on and it does, grinding on my soul.

I think it is impossible for most people to not feel any guilt if you suffer from an illness and need the care of others.  I am sure anyone from a cancer patient to someone suffering from a bad flu would feel some form of guilt.  Recently, advice from friends and coworkers has allowed me to see this struggle with guilt from a different perspective.  The main reason I actually started this blog was to distract myself from the anxiety with getting pregnant.  I have never really talked about it yet because I didn’t want to turn this blog into a trouble with conceiving blog.  However, I was told that I shouldn’t feel guilty about my anxiety affecting conception because there is really nothing you can do.  If it is meant to be, it will happen.

Similarly, with anxiety, there will always be a part of it you can’t control.  Moreover, no one chooses to have anxiety and make others feel guilty.  Of course, you can relieve the symptoms through exercise, eating right, and going to therapy.  However, there will always be a part of having a mental illness that you can’t control (e.g., you will always have bad days) even if you work out till you are going to faint.

I have a mental illness and I can’t change that.  It is a fact.  I need help sometimes and I have begun to realize that I have to accept that.  I still struggle with guilt, of course, but sometimes, I will remind myself to accept the help and will even ask for it.  Ironically, it is through asking for help that might prevent me from being a bigger worry for our loved ones in the future.