Living with mental illness has made me rethink my hopes and dreams.
Before I became ill, I wanted a career. I worked full time after I graduated university, aged 21, until last year. I had dreams of being someone really high up and influential in the field of autism. I pushed myself so much. My job defined me. It was on my mind constantly.
Before I became ill, I was always socialising. Weekends and evenings were filled with plans. I was a social butterfly; always arranging plans and spending loads of my time at different places.
Before I became ill, I thought I would end up having children. From a young age I wanted my own children. I couldn’t envisage my life without them.
I have had the title of this post saved in my drafts for the past few weeks. Over the past 24 hours, my sister in law gave birth to my second niece and a good friend had a little girl. It has made me think of how different things are in my life compared to a lot of other people. But I also realise that comparing my life to others is not productive or conducive in terms of my recovery.
Living with mental illness has made me realise that I need to work to live and not live to work. Being in a highly pressurised and stressful work environment will only lead to high levels of anxiety and low moods.
Living with mental illness makes socialising really difficult. It sometimes means passing on invites to social events that will be busy or have lots of people there. Quality over quantity; surrounding myself with a few good people rather than lots of people is better for my well being.
Living with mental illness has made me rethink my view on having children. I would never want to have a child if they were to inherit my anxiety and depression. It is not something I would wish upon anyone, least of all my own child. I struggle almost every day with anxiety and depression. It would not be fair to bring children into the mix. I worry that I would be a terrible mother because of this. I will sound selfish now, but my anxiety and depression tell me how hideous I am; that I am fat, ugly and disgusting. Having a child may potentially make this worse.
Living with mental illness makes me value the little things in life; health, love, family and friends. So my hopes and dreams are simply:
- To be able to manage my anxiety and depression
- To continue to have good relationships with my husband, immediate family and friends
- To have a job that makes me feel worthwhile
- To be happy