Am I My Illness?

I’ve started this place on my phone where I keep blog post ideas and rough drafts because I have so many bits and pieces of information flying through my head at one time that I get completely overwhelmed at the thought of sitting down and writing something out.

I attribute these rapid thoughts to my anxiety disorder or to possible depressive symptoms such as the inability to focus or concentrate long enough to organize disjointed ideas into a single theme.

Then I get to thinking, is this it? Is everything always because of my mental illnesses? Is my difficulty writing or remembering or socializing or driving or losing weight or parenting or making friends all due to mental illness? How do I distinguish that which is part of my personality from that which is my illness? Are they one in the same?

I’m not going to pretend to have the answer and quite honestly this is not a rhetorical question. I would love for some feedback here because I have read on numerous occasions well-meaning memes that state “you are not your illness” when I think sometimes maybe I am.

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4 thoughts on “Am I My Illness?

  1. I also keep notes on my phone of bits of writing I hope to go back and connect together. I don’t think we are defined by our illness. I think we more often have a temperament that invites the illness to stay. I.e. I myself am introverted and naturally introspective – combine that with anxiety and I get a jumbled mind full of thoughts I try to make sense of by writing! X

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  2. I’ve also struggled with the same questions, and not come up with a definitive answer. I think I’ve always had my illness (bipolar) although it wasn’t diagnosed till I was in my 40s – so my personality has formed round it as I matured and learned how to live with my quirks and be myself. I don’t have a non-bipolar personality to switch ‘back’ to!

    I also have the scribbling notes habit – much worse in the ‘up’ phase, when I wouldn’t be able to write or talk fast enough to keep up with my racing and zig-zagging brain even if I had nothing else to do. But I still do some in low or stable states, because it’s hard to stay organised so I have never-ending to-do lists and reminders, and little notes of ideas to look up or write about just get jotted down randomly. I use the Google Keep app on my phone, it’s dead simple and free, but I’ve still got notepads and sticky notes all over the house!

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    • Yes, I feel like my personality has formed around my illness too. The illness has shaped me into the person I am today which includes my personality I suppose. I’ve just recently started keeping notes. I am hoping it helps me get back to blogging.

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