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The Real Struggle of Every Mental Disorder

Having a mental health issue can be a roller coaster experience. There can be highs and lows, positives and negatives, strengths and weaknesses. Let me give you an example.

Stephen Fry, the host of QI, actor, comedian, writer, is a Cambridge graduate. He is an extremely intelligent, witty and successful man. He also has Bipolar Disorder and talks about this openly in his Autobiography. What he, and many others with Bipolar, have said is if given a pill that cured him of his mental health issues he would not take it. This is because Bipolar Disorder, whilst giving crippling depression, can also give great highs that spur on creativity, productivity, and happiness.

Another example is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The stereotypical ADHD child is someone that bounces off walls. But the diagnosis can come in many different forms, such as being a daydreamer. When someone is forever shifting attention, they see more parts of the world. When someone looks for the next stimulation, regardless of where it comes from, they see a different side of reality. A person's ADHD can be the reason they solve problems that others have been stuck on for days, or weeks, simply because they look outside the box.

With these highs and positives though, there comes compromise and struggles. Bipolar Disorder leads to crippling depression where nothing seems worthwhile and the world somehow seems much duller, less colourful. People with ADHD struggles to get dressed in the morning because making decisions is too hard. They cannot do the grocery shopping for their family because paying attention in a sea of different brands is too overwhelming.

These lows and struggles are what I see in therapy. However, I also see the highs and positives, maybe just less obviously than the lows. Having a mental illness can be one of the most confusing things people ever go through. Simply existing can be both hard and wonderful. Mental illness makes us feel harder, slump lower, raise up higher. I have to say, it can be exhausting to see, let alone live, but I am grateful for every opportunity I get to provide support and care.


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