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Forums / Grief and loss / Finding meaning through the existential grief of mental illness

Topic: Finding meaning through the existential grief of mental illness

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jazz and Blues
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    Jazz and Blues avatar
    14 posts
    12 July 2021

    I've been reflecting lately about the grief that comes alongside living with a chronic mental illness. We tend not to reflect in depth about the losses that we accumulate whether we must endure recurrent depression or anxiety; the missed opportunities, the wasted time, the seemingly pointless suffering. Instead, we are inspired to focus on our individual recovery. We are told to hold onto hope - to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Whilst these views are no doubt essential, and are certainly things that have carried me through the darkness at times, I can't help but wonder how we tend to our existential grief. Perhaps our grief brings with it a learning of acceptance? Or perhaps we simply learn to move on despite our setbacks?

    This grief can leave us feeling hopeless at times. What has worked for you when you are overwhelmed by despair? When you feel that everything is unfair and the world has taken something that you thought you deserved? How do we continue to endure?

    An essential part of the grieving process is enduring the struggle that leads us to find meaning in our losses.

    For me, I find meaning in using my story. I must accept that some things have changed in my life, perhaps forever, as a result of my illness. But, equally, I would not trade away my illness despite the grief it causes. Because to do so would be to change the very nature of who I am, who I have become and how I have improved as a person not despite but because of my own battles.

    Over to you forum. How do you find meaning?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9207 posts
    13 July 2021 in reply to Jazz and Blues

    Hi J and B

    I faced this maybe 30 years ago. It was a period post my fathers passing when, even though I had two daughters and a country life I was "lost" as to my purpose in life.

    I did find my purpose about 20 years ago - I began to realise my purpose in life was to help others people and especially animals. Animals dont inflict harm on humans like some humans can. They are also usually humble in their acceptance of help ... An injured koala once mended climbing a tree is ones reward.

    Assisting members here filled a void. However, to master that, which took many years, I had to introduce a protective shield around me where I would allow only certain topicsand other limitations like time management to become consistent with my work. I also had to realise my capacities and introduce limitations to adhere to the "peer advising" role, not beyond it and not fall short either.

    Just because we answer members here to assist them to a direction of comfort is one thing but to think that we are also assisting dozens, hundreds, thousands of unknown readers out there that google their problems to read our remedies from those with experiences of a road similar is amazing.

    My only disappointment overall is the realisation that helping family and friends with such a compassionate nature comes at a cost that it is rarely reciprocated. Not everyone is compassionate and selfishness is one of my pet dislikes but is very common. It is a factor I still cant come to terms with but live in hope that when I'm in great need one day I'll get a few calls of support. So optimism plays a big role there.

    Great post, thankyou

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    12313 posts
    13 July 2021 in reply to Jazz and Blues

    Jazz

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    I was 16 when was diagnosed over 45 years ago and overnight I went from a top student with a promising academic future to a troubled teen who was failing every subject as I was never at school, when low I couldn't mke it to school when high I knew everything so didn't need school.

    I could see no future for me . My parents wanted me to leave school and put me in a home for mentally ill people.

    I didn't see much meaning in everything as my peers were partying after studying and planning their careers.

    Fast forward to my late 40s when I started a shop down the sout coast and felt this was meant to be. I was happy and felt my life had meaning as people liked coming to my shop.

    When that ended after the fires, I felt lost again but found volunteering and helping others in three different organisations helped me to see a way out of the gloom.

    Maybe menaing is not a word I would you use , I would say purpose but for me it can change very often.

    As I have spent over 3/4 of my life with my illness I can not imagine life with out it. My life would have been totally different but there is no use thinking about that as what will be will be.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    1 person found this helpful

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