Finding Meaning When You're Mentally Ill

May 3, 2021 Alixzandria Paige

Having a mental illness can affect the meaning an individual experiences in life. I have had multiple family members with mental illness say they don't feel as though they can have an equally meaningful life as their neurotypical counterparts. That's just not true. Here is an article about how to find the meaning of life, written from the perspective of people that suffer from mental illness. 

How to Find Meaning in Life with Mental Illness

Follow Your Passion

It is often the case that the thing we love doing is the thing we should be doing. The passion that we feel when doing something we love will translate into harder work. greater outcomes, and a very fulfilling overall output. For me, what I feel passionate about is being of service to others. 

To follow my passion of being of service, I can go down many roads to find fulfillment. I've considered many options that can offer me a very meaningful life, such as social work, police work, and childcare. Now that I have narrowed down a few options that fit my passion, I can jump right into finding meaning in my life.

Trust the Journey

A family member with depression shared with me the method that they use to find meaning in their life. They say that they push forward through depression, always taking at least one more step because, above all, they trust that the journey to the final step is all worth it. They believe that trusting in the journey and learning to love and accept life's twists and turns is where their meaning comes from.

They went on to explain that to find true happiness and meaning, one has to look within the current moment and find peace within it. She explained that if she can always look at the present moment and see the best parts of it, then that skill will translate into an overall happier experience. She says that life has the meaning that we assign it, so we have to expect all of life's little mysteries to be meaningful.

Trial and Error

Another family member with bipolar disorder explained to me that they had to try out many different avenues in life before they discovered their meaning. The advice that they gave me was to always choose happiness and belonging and to not settle somewhere that fulfillment and meaning were absent, even if that meant jumping from opportunity to opportunity instead of being consistent. This family member wanted me to know that my meaning was out there and that I just have to go find it. 

I believe that everybody can live a meaningful life, it just may be difficult to find it. If you live with mental illness and If finding a meaningful life is difficult, just remember to follow your passion, trust the journey, and never settle. 

APA Reference
Paige, A. (2021, May 3). Finding Meaning When You're Mentally Ill, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Author: Alixzandria Paige

Find Alixzandria on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and her personal blog.

Leave a reply