In a recent email I was asked “Do you think that people with mental illnesses are able to cope with life properly?” Here’s my reply:

Certainly! The term ‘mental illness’ is a loose construct anyway, which means different things to different people. Such a label can do more harm than good. If you believe that it is part of your identity, and you allow it to define you, it may hold you back.

Plenty of great and successful people, and many lesser-known ones, manage well in life while living with some psychological condition or other.

If your mental condition imposes certain limitations on you, just as with any illness (physical or mental), you can still learn to live well with the constraints.

Look for role models in people with physical or mental limitations who have adapted well to living as full a life as they can. There are many books by such people, and movies about their lives.

Of course, a lot depends on the severity of the sufferer’s illness – ‘mental health’ has become an increasingly broad term – but experience has shown me that there is no reason to be limited by circumstance. Human potential is greater than we generally think and possibilities are limitless.