Ten Things I’ve Learnt From Having A Mental Illness

Hello everybody! Today I’m discussing ten valuable lessons that my mental illness has taught me, as an eighteen year old.

Most often, mental illness is portrayed as limiting and has negative connotations. The positive lessons it holds are usually brushed underneath the carpet, which is why I want to create a change in viewpoints and shine a light on some of the things that I wouldn’t know, if it wasn’t for depression.

1. To appreciate the positives

The low points in your life can help you to appreciate and strive towards creating positive days. If everything was always perfect then we wouldn’t grow or be motivated to make changes which better ourselves. So when those positive days come around, take a moment to be thankful that you have them, and the things or people which make your day wonderful. Acknowledging these factors means that they can be used as a reminder of what you are working towards, whether that’s happiness, recovery or discharge from mental health services…

Mental Health, Mental Illness, Depression

2. To empathise with people

Mind, the mental health charity, states that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Additionally, the latest survey reporting figures of different types of mental health problems shows that:

5.9 in 100 people have Generalised Anxiety Disorder

3.3 in 100 people have Depression

2.4 in 100 people have Phobias

1.3 in 100 people have OCD

0.6 in 100 people have Panic Disorder

4.4 in 100 people have PTSD

Having empathy means that you are able to understand how another person is feeling; because of your own experiences. A personal example of empathy is when my best friend mistreated me for sending her help, as she attempted to take her life. Due to my experience with depression, I remember hurting those I love, due to the lack of control that I had over my mind. I received forgiveness from my loved ones, and in turn I understood that she was in a lot of pain, and forgave her.

It is extremely likely that someone you know is suffering with a mental illness. Being empathetic to the pain of other people can help them to feel less alone.


3. To be present

Having a mental illness has taught me to stay grounded, rather than drifting away with negative thoughts. Being present means that you are fully aware of the moment you are in, not allowing yourself to think about the past or future. When you notice that you have unconsciously followed a thought, you bring yourself to the present again. This technique helps to reduce anxieties and gives individuals a sense of control. A very popular grounding technique involves using the senses:

Naming five things you can see

Four things you can hear

Three things you can feel

Two things you can smell

One thing you can taste


4. To let myself have bad days

Beating yourself up for not feeling your best is counter-productive. It won’t help to set yourself up for a better day tomorrow. I have learned that having a bad day isn’t the end of the world. It is an investment into your wellbeing, because having some time out means that you can dedicate time to yourself, recharge and let out the negative emotions which have been building up inside.

5. The people that work in this sector have and will continue to change lives

I have met so many incredible people on my mental health journey. Professionals in this field such as psychologists; psychiatrists; nurses; support workers; therapists and health care assistants work tirelessly to help individuals during their recovery from mental illness.

6. How to help others suffering

Due to my experiences with mental illness, I am able to help other people because I know that having a strong support network can make a large difference to how you are feeling. Please let me know if you would like an entire blog post dedicated to this!
Mental illnesses can make daily activities extremely difficult to face, therefore having somebody to help you can make life feel less overwhelming. For instance, having a clean and tidy living space can reduce levels of stress and motivate you to get out of bed, rather than sleeping to escape from it. This isn’t something which individuals may explicitly ask for help with, but it is something which can make the world of difference to sufferers of mental illness.

7. Your feelings will pass

Feelings are temporary and even the most stressful and overwhelming emotions won’t last forever. It’s important to remind yourself that ‘this will pass’. Allow yourself to express how you’re feeling, rather than keeping it bottled up inside. Stopping yourself from feeling sad means that you are also stopping yourself from feeling happy. It leaves no room for anything other than numbness, and prolongs your negative feelings.

8. The importance of self care

Self care is extremely underrated. By taking some time out of your day to look after yourself, you can create a state of calm, and tap into your rational mind. Having a positive relationship with yourself will reflect in multiple areas of your life. It can increase your self-confidence, productivity levels and improve your relationships with other people. Everything is based on your relationship with yourself, and once you start being kinder to yourself, your life will begin to change for the better.
I have written a blog post about creating a self-soothe box, which you can read here.

9. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate

I’m going to write this statistic again. 1 in four people in the UK suffer with their mental health every year. It can affect anyone, irrespective of money, status and fame. It is really upsetting to see so much stigma, especially towards males, around having a mental illness. Anybody could suffer from a mental illness; resulting from a predisposition, traumatic experience, bullying… and anybody should be able to seek out help without receiving abuse or being discriminated against. I desperately want to live in a world where mental health stigma is stamped out, and mental health conditions are accepted just as much as physical health conditions are.

10. Not everybody will understand and that’s okay

We live in a world where the majority of people in older generations will not understand mental illness, at all. In the past, mental health wasn’t discussed as openly as it is today, which means that individuals are likely to dismiss and ignore the extent of your condition. Being around these people can be extremely difficult because you are made to feel like nothing is wrong, when in reality  you’re fighting for your life. You don’t need to make these people understand your journey. Live your life for you, not anybody else and you will be so much more happier.

If you have gotten this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. Let me know in the comments how having a mental illness has positively affected your life!

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Love Casey x


Below are links to websites that can support you if you are suffering from a mental illness.


116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)




0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday)



100 comments so far.

100 responses to “Ten Things I’ve Learnt From Having A Mental Illness”

  1. MJ says:

    Wow! You’re strong girl. Loved that you shared such a personal post with us! Definitely enjoined reading and gaining some knowledge 💕 cheers to you!!

  2. This is an amazing post, I definitely agree with all of these things, especially when it comes to appreciating the positives!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Amie,
      Thank you! Focusing on the positives is a really great coping mechanism. Thank you for your comment lovely!
      Love Casey x

  3. Kate says:

    Such a lovely post and thanks for sharing your experience.

    I totally agree with everything you’ve written.

    Through my own mental health struggles I’ve learnt so much about myself and what I need to feel good about everyday.

    Self care is so important and it’s so great to see that you’re focusing so much on the positives and aren’t letting things get the better of you.

    Kate x

  4. Jaime walker says:

    Great post I liked the bit about being present

  5. As someone who suffers from anxiety and is going through a tough spell – this really helped me. Thank you for sharing and posting, I can’t wait to read more from you ❤️

    Nic | nicprks.com

  6. Kit Horsley says:

    This is an incredibly mature and brave post. Thank you for opening up to something so personal, and sharing information that could make such a difference to those in need. Its so important to have people who openly discuss mental health, and it’s wonderful that you’re doing your part to remove that stigma. This is a unique, and refreshing viewpoint on mental health issues that is much needed. Keep up the brilliant work!

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Kit,
      Wow, what a lovely comment! I really hope to make a difference to somebody that is struggling. Thank you so much, you are very kind.
      Love Casey x

  7. Taiwo says:

    This is an incredible post! I really love the point about focusing on the positives. It can be really hard to see anything good around when so much bad is happening but it’s important to try. Also, your point about a good support network is so true! I have become much closer to my mum and sisters in recent months and it has really helped me because I know they’ll always have my back. Thank you so much for sharing xx

    Taiwo | https://www.alifestylenerd.wordpress.com

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Taiwo,
      Thank you so much, that’s such a great piece of advice! I’m really glad that you have supportive people around you! Thank you for your lovely comment.
      Love Casey x

  8. Rhianna says:

    Such a good post, Casey. I totally agree with all points, especially about knowing the feelings will pass, looking after yourself and that a bad day is just that – it doesn’t mean it’s a bad life!

    Rhianna x

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Rhianna,
      Thank you so much! That’s right, our feelings are temporary and they will always pass!
      Love Casey x

  9. Vikki Hale says:

    I have depression myself and definitely say I appreciate the positives when they happen and plan on making this year a very positive one. I do agree that sometimes you do need to let yourself have a bad day as it’s happening because I have bottled it up in the past and ended up diving down a very dark hole which was hard to get out of at the time. Thank you for this post!!

    Vikki | http://planetvikkiblog.wordpress.com

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Vikki,
      I hope that this year is extremely positive for you! Thank you for your lovely comment!
      Love Casey x

  10. Ellie says:

    This is a fab post, well done on sharing something so personal to you, and that I’m sure will help lots of people! I think staying positive is so important, and I love your point about the importance of self care! Ellie x

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Ellie,
      Thank you lovely! My goal is to help others and to decrease the stigma towards mental health!
      Love Casey x

  11. Samantha says:

    Loved this! I struggle with my mental health and reading this really helped! I’ve never thought about any of this! Keep writing, you’re amazing.


  12. Kerry Thomas says:

    Great Post thank you for sharing it with me. Its good to see some statistics too. I love your methods to very helpful. Trying to stay positive is a hard one, but great when you at least try. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles. Mummythomas.blog xx

  13. A Lush Idea says:

    Wonderful post. Totally agree. Self-care is one of the most important aspects of dealing with mental health. It may sound cheesy, but I discovered it the hard way that “inner peace” is the most valuable state to strive for.

  14. Alexx says:

    Thank you for sharing! These are such great things to have learned and really combat some of the negative stereotypes that are around mental illness.

  15. This is very inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing!


  16. Michelle Blackadar says:

    i have so much love and respect for this post. it takes so much courage to share what you’ve learned due to your struggles. in a strange way, i sometimes say depression is the best thing to happen to me. because it made me appreciate things more, it made me search for a closer relationship with God and build my faith. it made me realize that the only way to true happiness is to live the life I want and not the life others want me to have. mental illness is such a hard thing to deal with but so much can come out of it. great post x

    mich / simplymich.com

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Michelle,
      Oh my goodness, thank you so much! Your comment has made my day! It’s such a valuable thing to see the positives in a negative experience. I really hope that this year is positive for you!
      Love Casey x

  17. Tessa says:

    This is such a beautiful and really informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Cynthia says:

    Wow! This was an amazing post! Thank you for sharing this with us. Some of these facts were so enlightening, especially the point of the importance of self care. SO important! 💗

    Cyn | http://www.cynspo.com

  19. Anaïs N. says:

    This is a great post!! You’ve learnt so many things so far, you should be proud of you. You’re a brave and strong young woman x

    Anaïs | http://anais-n.com

  20. Larry Lewis says:

    I’ve been blogging a long time, and your writing has reaaly struck me. Awesome job, great habits that would help anybody transform their lives. Great job!

  21. This is such an important and inspiring post! My anxiety and depression have also taught me the importance of being present and staying grounded in reality, even though it’s so difficult sometimes. This is something I’m still working on, and your five tips for being present are so helpful. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 x

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello lovely,
      Thank you so much! I hope that this post can help you to stay grounded, it can be really hard to do!
      Love Casey x

  22. These are so so important and I value everything that you said. One thing I have really been trying to do is to be present in the moment, I think this is super important.

    Sophia xo

    • casestreetx says:

      Hiya Sophia,
      Thank you so much, grounding is such a great skill to have under your belt!
      Love Casey x

  23. I have anxiety and panic attacks, so I really felt this blogpost. Thanks for sharing!!

  24. Kayla says:

    You’re so brave and strong for writing and being open about your mental illness lovely. It’s because of amazing women (and men) like you sharing your stories that it is becoming more and more common for people to talk about their mental illnesses and that is amazing in itself!

    Kayla ♥︎ http://www.kaylajayne.co.uk

  25. Thank-you so much for this. I’ve not actually heard of that method to feel present, I will definitely try it out when I feel panicky!

  26. Rachel says:

    These are some great lessons and things I need to remember! I will need to bookmark this page for later 🙂 thanks for sharing your journey

  27. Sarah says:

    Thank you for writing this post. I suffer from OCD, Anxiety, and PTSD. It’s not fun and it’s nice to see someone who understands. Who doesn’t wallow in the pain and misery and can find the bright side of a dark day. An enjoyable read.

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you very much, it’s so important to have an open-mind and see good in all of the bad. Have a lovely day!
      Love Casey x

  28. Alicja says:

    Thank you for writing this post. It combines a lot of things I have been through or had known people who have gone through similar things in life. You sound like a strong person, keep it going.

  29. AnxietyAndMe says:

    This is an absolutely brilliant post. Every single word spoke to me as I suffer with my mental health. It is so refreshing to see that someone understands the difficulties of the illness.

    Thank you for writing this! 😘

  30. Anxietyandme says:

    Thank you for writing this post! Every single word spoke to me, as I struggle with my mental illness on a daily basis.

    Again, thank you! This has really helped me.

  31. Ene Abah says:

    I love the countdown with senses, it is something I will try when next I have to counsel someone. Somehow, people find it easy to talk to me and one of the things I tell them is to be present and feel what they feel and not will them away.
    This is a great post.


  32. Jazmin says:

    This is such a great post & so well Written too. I completely agree! It’s so true that some people won’t get it, and honestly it’s good for them if they don’t in a way because it means they don’t have to experience those bad days. We all should be kind to each other anyway & as you say, empathy! X

  33. Anne says:

    I absolutely love this. I am a sufferer of depression too and this post hits it right on the head. I definitely learned a lot of these because of my depression! Thanks for sharing

  34. Ewa says:

    This is such a beautiful post! I don’t suffer from mental illness, but I still took something from this post. I hope to be more present and supportive of my friends that may be struggling with mental illness.

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Ewa,
      Thank you so much! That’s so lovely to hear, thank you for commenting!
      Love Casey x

  35. This is an amazing blog post! I agree with absolutely everything, thanks for sharing your thoughts 💕 especially the self-care bit is neglected so often, I’ve made it my mission to practice way more of that this year!

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Sometimes an illness- even a mental illness can be a kind of blessing in disguise. There’s so much we can learn from it, if we take the time to look at it from all angles and open our hearts and minds. Looks like you’ve done just that- congrats!!!

  37. This is incredible Casey! Self-care is something I used to neglect. However, I now ensure that every evening I take an hour or two to do something that I love. Lately I’ve also been practicing yoga which has worked wonders for my anxiety and stress management. One of my goals for this year is to focus on the positives. I’m admittedly a pessimist and my own worst enemy when it comes to sitting on negative thoughts and letting them dominate my mind. Staying present and practicing gratitude are therefore something I’m finding so important. Loved this post and adore your honesty! x

    Evie x | http://www.eviejaye.co.uk

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Evie,
      Thank you so much angel! That is so amazing, I’m so proud of you for prioritising self care! Yoga is something that I really want to try this year! I am exactly the same, it is truly so difficult to turn all negatives in to a positive thought. Thank you!
      Love Casey x

  38. Paige Summer says:

    This is so important!! I can relate to all of these, and I’m glad more people are being open and are sharing more about mental illness. Thank you for sharing!

    Paige x

  39. Georgia says:

    Wow, lovely post. I especially like the “Tk Be Present” tips, definitly going to be helpful, thanks for sharing!

  40. Carrelle says:

    This is such an incredible post. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story, so brave of you. I totally agree with you will all the points but being present and being there for others resonated so much with me.

  41. Savannah says:

    This is a wonderful post with so many grounded lessons and ideas. Though all are deserving of attention and praise, I really appreciate the inspiration of empathy. It’s so important. Thank you for sharing and spreading these wise words, and getting through to another day.

  42. Rachel Wuest says:

    I have also learned to get things DONE when I gave even an iota of energy. A big part of MIs is also coming to terms that you will probably have this for the rest of your life and there’s no way to cure it, only find ways to make it a bit less horrible.

    Rachel || http://anotherstationanothermile.com

    • casestreetx says:

      Hiya Rachel,
      That’s exactly right! Just learning how to cope with it makes it so much more manageable.
      Love Casey x

  43. Shannon says:

    I can totally relate to this post hun! I know exactly what this is like!
    Great post Casey x


    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Shannon,
      I’m really glad that you can identify these positives too! Thank you for reading angel!
      Love Casey x

  44. Margarida says:

    What a great post, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can certainly relate to it. No doubt that I appreciate things more. I am still struggling with self care but making an effort! I am also more assertive, and learnt how to say no. Xx

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Margarida,
      Thank you for your lovely comment! Keep going, I can see how much progress you’ve made!
      Love Casey x

  45. Roger says:

    Wonderful post and well written! At one time I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. I relate to your observations about living in the present moment and being kind to yourself. Both of those skills, fostered through mindful self compassion, have allowed me to move past my fears of anxiety. Thanks for the great post!

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Roger,
      Thank you so much! That is really great to hear, wishing you all the best!
      Love Casey x

  46. Roger says:

    Great post! I definitely relate to all the positives you listed. I have found that meditation and being present has really helped me. Thanks for sharing!

    • casestreetx says:

      Hi Roger,
      That is so great! I’m really pleased that you have found appropriate coping mechanisms! Thank you for reading.
      Love Casey x

  47. This is great work you’re doing! I love that you’re bringing awareness to such an important topic! You’re making waves, girl!
    I’m sending positive vibes and love your way! ♥️

    • casestreetx says:

      Hiya Danielle,
      That really means a lot to me, thank you! You are too kind! I’m sending them right back girl! So much love!
      Love Casey x

  48. This is such an insightful and important post to write Casey so well done you for writing it, it mustn’t have been too easy. I also think it’s amazing that you’re finding the positives to come out of such a negative experience of mental health problems. This will certainly help people when they’re feeling low because they will see how you have been able to put your happiness and positivity first. Great post!
    Alex xx

  49. Samantha says:

    Thank you! I’ve found some of my strengths (anticipating others’ needs, seeing other people’s viewpoints, etc) come from my own mental health challenges. I appreciate the reminder to see the positive!


    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Samantha,
      That is so great to hear angel! Thank you for reading and commenting!
      Love Casey x

  50. Chloe says:

    4. to let your self have bad days is something I have come to learn that it is ok to have a bad day x

    • casestreetx says:

      Hello Chloe,
      It can be really tricky to be ok with having one bad day, so I’m really pleased you have learnt this! You should be proud of yourself angel!
      Love Casey x

  51. This is a great post to read! I suffer with anxiety and find naming things I can see hear etc so very helpful when I’m having an attack. You’re so strong to write about this and in sure you’re helping so many people by doing so! X

    • casestreetx says:

      Hiya Ilona,
      Thank you lovely! I really hope that I’m able to help people as a result of my own experiences.
      Love Casey x

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I'm Casey, a 19 year old mental health, lifestyle and travel blogger living on the South coast of England. On my blog you'll find a mixture of mental heath and wellness advice, travel diaries, self-help tips and more.

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I’m Casey, a 19 year old lifestyle and mental health blogger from the sea-side town Bournemouth. I’m an aspiring Mental Health Nurse and I would like to help sufferers of mental illness in the way that I was helped myself. I want my blog to be a place for readers to turn to, for advice and support as they are on their own journeys with mental health. If I am able to help at least one person, it makes sharing my story and being vulnerable all worth it.