duality of mental illness

Sometimes you might feel like your mental illness gives you a dual personality. For example, you might view the moments when you are at your lowest point and feel like you are drowning and you are not yourself. These also might be the times when you experience a loss of control over your emotions. Ultimately, you feel like you can’t decide how to act or what to say and you are swept up by the emotions you are feeling at the moment.  

When all is said and done, you are left with a feeling of rational and irrational fear for the repercussions you may face as a result. You might feel like a cliche when expressing “Oh, that wasn’t me.” and it was your mental illness taking over your emotions and behaviors. While it might be easy to succumb to negative thoughts and behaviors, you know that this is not who you are, but rather it’s a part of who you are. There are ways to understand your mental illness to better treat these episodes when they arise.  

Mental Illness Does Not Define Us, But It Is a Part of Us

It is easy to fall into the mindset of viewing your mental illness as something separate from your true self and carry that mindset throughout your recovery journey. Unfortunately, that’s not the right mindset to have and this kind of thinking can really cause damage to a person’s mental health. It’s not about leaving recovery without mental illness or leaving a part of you behind, it’s about learning to accept that your mental illness is a part of you and then doing the work to accept this. 

When you walk out the doors of your treatment after your final session or appointment, you are going to start a new chapter in your life. You are on the path to find the ways you can be a better person than you were before and move on from your old way of living. Moving on often makes you think that you need to leave something behind, like physically leaving a location to move on to somewhere else. It is a freeing feeling when you let go of the things that have been dragging you down. Your mental illness is probably the first thing that you want to leave behind. You can admit it–you don’t want to live with your conditions and yearn for a day when you can finally live without mental illness. This is a natural train of thought, but unfortunately, that’s not how these things go. That’s not how life operates. Your mental illness will go with you on the next part of your journey. 

Taking Responsibility for the Complexities of Illness

Your mental illness is a piece of who you are. Many of your fears, your concerns, and your issues stem from a foundational part of you. They are intertwined with the person you have become, and ignoring this will not change your reality. It means you can’t live your life trying to deny how you feel, whether stressed, anxious, angry, or sad. If you suffer from depression, you cannot live your life by separating yourself separate from the feelings associated with depression. Accepting your emotions and your potential shortcomings as a result of them is the key to living with your mental illness and moving forward in your new way of life. By learning how to live with your mental illness you can understand why it is important to not hide or ignore your emotions and reactions to them. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, it will mean you can’t blame your actions on your mental illness. Instead, it is vital to your recovery journey to learn to take responsibility for your behaviors and emotions and how you react to them. Taking responsibility for your actions and behaviors is a foundational component of recovery. Accepting who you are and building the skills to grown and change alongside your mental illness will help you lead your best life.

Release the Guilt 

It is to think about how your mental illness has changed your life and how you most likely will not be the same person you were before it developed. But you don’t need to hold on to that guilt or that burden. Holding on to such guilt will only prevent you from getting the care you need. Additionally, you can allow yourself the grace to grow into that new life, discover who you can and want to be, and let your mental illness be a part of who you are. Don’t hide that part of you and treat it as if it were someone else. Let it be part of what makes you the beautiful person you are. 


You are beautifully complex and wonderfully flawed, and that is the most important thing to remember. Never forget the fact that you are worthy of being loved for everything that you are. Mental health disorders are an incredibly difficult obstacle to overcome in life. You may have been made to feel like you’re weird or strange because of it. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. At True Recovery, you will find a community of people who will not only accept you, but will show you a new way of life. Discover a way of living in which your mental health is not a burden, but something that is a part of you. Learn to embrace the issues you face and overcome them with grace and dignity. At True Recovery, people just like you have found the path to recovery and success. This is available for you, too. Give us a call today at (866) 399-6528 to learn more.