That’s a difficult question to answer for someone who’s trying to find themselves. I may be right here but sometimes I don’t fully recognize – or accept – the person I’ve become. I’ll take a stab at the question anyway and see where it takes me.
I’ve heard that I’m far from boring and predictable, but I could do with a little ‘boring’ right now. My impulsivity does no favours to our family, nor help with friendships and maintaining work or school. It can also make my wallet cry. This is why I’m doing everything I can to build stability.
I’m overly sensitive to ‘failure’, criticism, and other environmental factors. I’m grateful that this side of me brings greater empathy and understanding, but the drawback is a significant sense of personal vulnerability.
I’m a failed perfectionist in the sense that I desperately want to achieve the high standards I set for myself. Since perfection doesn’t exist, my underachievements result in low self-esteem and abandonment of the original goal.
I want to be a kind, helpful and supportive person but struggling with the pain of my mental health issues has made me self-centred and selfish. It’s difficult to be there for others when it’s already taking a ton of energy to keep myself relatively stable and in control.
I have deep regrets regarding the past which feel impossible to make up for. The shame and guilt can lie dormant but it’s always there and ready to spring up.
I experience such variable and extreme emotions that I’ve felt the very top as well as the very bottom – and pretty much everything in between. While experiencing a wider spectrum of emotions has a few benefits, it’s mainly destabilizing, scary and the perfect recipe for an endless cycle of crap!
I could go on with the bad, but here’s some good:
I care deeply and want to help other people; especially those in similar situations of mental illness. That’s why I’ve been keeping up a blog on mental health and illness. It might not be much, but I’d be happy to help or inspire just one person.
My intensity and tendency for extremes can mean tremendous passion and persistence. (Also pig-headedness.)
The same imagination that runs wild with worst case scenarios is also a source of wonderful creativity for ideas and projects.
When I find something I really believe in and want to do, I can exhibit the force of a hurricane. Periods of hyper-focus can allow me to work circles around my normal level of productivity.
I think my experiences have helped humble me when it comes to appreciating the unknown struggle behind every stranger. At least, I sincerely hope so and I try to remind myself of it.
I don’t know how well I answered the writing prompt but this is how I would briefly describe myself. I am not the sun total of my mental illnesses but I’ve certainly been shaped by them. I would be lying if I denied the enormous impact.
In all honesty, it can be difficult to imagine the old me; the kid and teenager who would’ve never imagined what has happened in the past 8 years. It feels like ancient history sometimes. However, it’s equally true that I can’t imagine who I would be now if it were not for the struggles I’ve faced.
How do you guys feel about describing yourself in the context of an illness?