Does having a mental illness make you a negative person?

I really aspire to be one of those people who are always positive. One of those people who are always smiling and laughing. I used to be at secondary school, before my mental health problems really began and I have often questioned whether I am a negative or a positive person. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am positive..  yet I don’t see how that is possible given how I feel a lot of the time. People describe me as positive and I think “yeah, you’re thinking that because I don’t let you see the other side of me.”

But is feeling low, is feeling suicidal, really the same as being negative? It sounds like a stupid question. How can wanting to hurt yourself be positive? I’m not saying it is. It isn’t.

(Here comes the but)

I spent Friday night in A&E. I was there from 1.30am to 9.30am cycling between crying my eyes out, scratching my face off and sitting in silence. Saturday I spent asleep. Sunday and today I haven’t exactly been bursting with energy and thirst for life. I have had moments where I want to fight, but I have had a lot of moments, more moments, where I am extremely upset, distressed, angry, or denying having emotions, denying needing people, not allowing myself to like myself, blocking people off and hiding away. Is that negativity? Do we judge me by these facts? Or do we look at the fact that this evening I managed to take myself on a nice walk in the sunshine and come home and do a little exercise and put my positive head on? Is positivity the absence of negativity, or is it coming out of the negative mindset with an overall positive attitude? Isn’t someone who can come out of such a horrible place, still fighting, one of the most positive people of them all? Surely it’s easier to be positive when things are all good. Does being positive when things are all good really make you one of those optimistic people? Or is an optimistic person one who can experience the worst possible feelings but still smile at the end of the day?

No, hurting myself isn’t positive. And no, it isn’t the person I want to be. Feeling low and hopeless isn’t the kind of person I want to be neither. But I have borderline personality disorder and this is how my life is, and to varying extents, probably always will be. I’m probably never going to be the exact person I want to be, who never lets things get her down. But maybe that’s okay. To live with this illness, to spend 9 hours in A&E crying my eyes out, to hurt myself again and again and hibernate in bed for a few days and then to get up, get dressed, go out, smile, talk to people.. to carry on in spite of everything. Maybe I should be proud of being that person. Proud of being what I am, rather than being disappointed in myself for what I’m not.

Never let anyone make you feel like you are are a negative person to be around because sometimes you feel less than ecstatic. Everyone gets down, and some of us get it worse than others. Some of us aren’t momentarily unhappy. Some of us have an illness that makes this more frequent, more intense and harder to live with, but never let that make you feel like you’re not an optimistic, positive person. To keep getting up and trying again is one of the most amazing traits you can ever have. To let yourself feel all of your emotions, including the terrifying ones, and to still get yourself back up, is a part of your personality that will take you further than you can imagine.





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