Many people (principally therapists that I have seen) will say that the ability to be self-aware of the symptoms of your mental illness is the massive first step and means that it will be easier for you to deal with them. I don’t agree.
I would say that having dealt with mental illness for the past 6 years, that I am fairly self-aware of what is usually happening in my head. This does not mean in any way whatsoever that I can control it, or do anything about it. I can recognise that I am slipping into a depressive state, I can recognise that my eating disorder behaviours are completely illogical and I can recognise that certain thoughts are not my thoughts but are someone else’s thoughts stuck in my head. I can’t do anything about them. I can’t change how i react and act around food as that is a coping mechanism that I fall into when I can’t cope anymore. I can’t change how my brain is going to function and somehow stop myself falling into a depressive state, just as much as I can’t stop it when I fly through all the other stages of emotion and reach hyper. I can see that it is happening, sure, but there’s not much I can really do about it.
And I’m getting more cross about it. I have been told a lot recently, that because I know that I am depressed that I be able to do something about it (this is from the sort of people that would suggest ‘eating healthy’ or yoga as a cure for depression). It doesn’t work like that. And I really really wish that people would realise that.