Living with mental illness makes everything harder. If you’re depressed, you might not be able to get out of bed. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may be irrationally afraid of necessary things like driving or social interaction. If you have schizophrenia or a personality disorder, it may be very difficult to form stable relationships. The drawbacks of mental illness are perfectly obvious, but is there anything good about mental illness? While no one would choose to live with mental illness, if you’re already struggling with it, there might be a few silver linings.

Empathy

We all prefer smooth seas, but as the saying goes, smooth seas don’t make good sailors. It’s the rough patches where we learn the most. Not only do we learn about ourselves and what we are capable of enduring, but we have a better understanding of what others are going through. If you’ve been depressed, you know that sometimes getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed is a win. It’s easier to understand that everyone you encounter is doing the best she can at the moment. If you’ve been hurt, you know what’s it like and you can be there for others who have been hurt, which is most of us.

Creativity

There are some recent studies that suggest bipolar disorder may slightly enhance creativity. If you scan any list of famous people with bipolar disorder, a number of creative giants will jump out at you. These include Beethoven, Hemingway, Graham Greene, Kurt Cobain, and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few. It could be that the manic episodes spur a frenzy of productive activity, while the depressive moods allow time to separate the quality material from the frenzied scribbling. Schizophrenia may also enhance creativity. Schizophrenia is sometimes described as a condition of hyperconnectivity. It can make life very difficult, but it can also lead to novel ideas. Some famous people with schizophrenia include Philip K. Dick, John Nash, Joey Ramone, and Vincent van Gogh.

Insight

As noted above, you learn a lot about yourself and others while struggling with mental illness. If everything is going well, there’s really no need to look under the hood. It’s when you keep making the same mistakes that you start to investigate how your mind works. You start looking into your past and you start paying attention to your basic assumptions about life. Happier people are generally content with a more superficial understanding of how they think. There is also some evidence that suggests people with depression see the world, and themselves, more accurately. While most people are wildly optimistic and overrate their own good qualities, studies have shown that depressed people are less prone to this kind of inflation. For example, they can better assess how well they performed on a test.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.