Mental Illness: My Refiner’s Fire

People tend to start their “about me” by stating their name, age, where they live… Blah blah blah. But I’ll just tell you my name. The other stuff is irrelevant. My name is Tesereta Mulivai.

To be honest, I like listening to people more than I like talking. Perhaps it’s because I prefer to observe people. I learned early on in my life to not always trust who people say that they are, but to observe and find out who they really are through how they act. Hmmm… I guess you can say that being that way is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing.

At first, I felt that observing people was to really learn about people and know why they are the way that they are. Later on, I realized that it was more about surviving; knowing who to stay away from and who to keep around, knowing when to cut anyone off if they seemed to threaten my comfort zone, and stuff like that. Observing people helped to know how people were so that I could know how to act or be around them so they would never know I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I never wanted to be pitied, pushed aside, or seen as crazy.

Whenever I would see someone who suffered from mental illness, others would laugh at them. They would mock them and call them crazy. They would push them aside and say, “Don’t go around that person. They’ll become attached to you.” Or they would look at those with mental illness with disgust and complain how those suffering were too negative to be around and were a drain.

I didn’t want to be that. I didn’t want to be treated like that, so I observed people and caught on to their likes, dislikes, and such things. All so that I could know how to be around each person I met so I wouldn’t be treated like others who suffer with mental illness were treated.

However, I have come to learn that it’s not only the good things that make you who you are. The things that are uncomfortable and bad, the trials and tribulations, the struggles… They make you who you are, too. My mental illness does not define who I am, but it sure has contributed to my process of becoming the best that I can be. That’s why I decided to make this blog and be the one to talk rather than the one listening.

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