Is there identity after mental illness?

When I got sick, I experienced many changes and also losses. Because of anti-depressants, I was unable to shed a tear for two whole years. For a while, I lost my ability to read and to write. Because of the seriousness of my condition, I was unable to process text, which previously constituted my world. Time passed. Because of stigma, I was never given an opportunity to further my studies in philosophy from an academic perspective, a subject which had previously absorbed me. With regards to finding work, I was often stigmatised. Because my condition is chronic, I know that things will never go back to how they were before I got sick. 

But my identity has strengthened rather than weakened after schizophrenia. Because of my condition, I have changed for the better. I have become a better person, better than I was before I got sick. Then, I was a lot more self-centred. Now I often think about how I can bring value to others, how I can contribute. Because of the profound existential challenges and because of the difficulties faced by people with schizophrenia, I am becoming a stronger person. Slowly but surely, I have been able to use my experience for the benefit of others, as I regain confidence and trust in myself, in others, and in the world. On hindsight, psychosis is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. 

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