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Normal Problems Are Nothing When You Have A Mental Illness

riskOne thing that I’m continually amazed by is the fact that things that were once a huge deal before I was diagnosed practically became little more than minor inconveniences after living with a mental illness long enough.

These include things like rejection, opportunity loss, breakups, bad days, pretty much anything that has the potential to set someone off.

The weird thing is, you realize none of it really matters after living with a mental illness because practically anything the world manages to throw at you pales in comparison to the constant day-in day-out struggle of being able to trust your own mind.

Last week I got pretty sick with a nasty cold and for a normal person it would’ve knocked them out and put them completely out of commission physically and mentally. While it did take a toll on me physically, it wasn’t nearly as bad mentally as some of the paranoia and delusional thinking I go through on a regular basis.

Maybe that’s because I knew I would come out of it. I knew that in a week’s time I would be feeling better and I just had to power through.

The same can’t be said for mental illness, I know I’ll never get rid of the paranoia and depression and delusions completely and there’s a much heavier burden about something that can’t be fixed.

That’s where the resilience comes from though, that’s where you realize that the symptoms come in waves or in hills and valleys.

You can do your best to mitigate the paranoia and delusions by limiting stress and using therapy techniques but they will always come back.

Riding out these waves, these periods of struggle gives you an extremely strong will, as well as perseverance and resiliency. With every fog that you go through you get a little better at handling it until there comes a day when the paranoia is itself a minor inconvenience.

The fact of it though, is that losing your job, getting in a car accident, breaking up with someone, these things all fall by the wayside when you’ve got a chronic incurable mental illness because all those things are temporary, you know that eventually you will come out of it. That realization alone takes away the power a lot of those things have to ruin a life.

Someone unaccustomed to pain will have a hell of a time while someone who’s very real existence is dealing with pain everyday will look at these things and say, “So what?”

Essentially, mental illness makes people strong. Really any condition where someone has to deal with constant pain (mental or physical) will make them strong.

The point of it all is that if you are having a hard time mentally know that it’s just another hill you’re climbing and though there will be more, you’ll eventually get to the top.

There’s great strength in dealing with suffering and to be honest with you I think if you were to give me the option of having a mental illness, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Normal Problems Are Nothing When You Have A Mental Illness

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Normal Problems Are Nothing When You Have A Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Mar 2015
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