|I have a mental illness. I also have hazel eyes with freckle-like brown spots in them!|
It's pretty common for those who have a chronic health problem to start feeling like they ARE their health problem. This can be particularly tough for people who are coping with mental health issues. Not only do mental illnesses change--against your will--the very nature of your thoughts and emotions (and therefore your actions), but often cause considerable feelings of shame as well. For many people, having a psychiatric disorder is not something they can be "out" about, so it's a burden borne alone, only enhancing the feeling of one's sick otherness. I want to remind all of those who have a mental illness, a physical ailment, or feel trapped in any kind of role ("mommy," "the fat girl," etc.) that you are so much more than your diagnosis!
|My hair color at thirty.|
|This is part of who I am...|
|...as is this.|
|Mental illnesses? Common.|
That pigment stripe? Unusual.
My diagnoses are a part--but only a part--of the great, tangled mass of details that add up to who I am. No matter how overwhelming your illness or situation may seem, I want to assure that this is true of you, too.