One of the mantras that kept me going through the most excruciating years of my untreated Bipolar Disorder and self-medicating through Addictions was Nietzsche’s quote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
While buying into this aphorism probably saved me from dying by suicide, as it brought personal meaning to my torturous mental, emotional, and self-inflicted pain, age, maturity, and Recovery have taught me that while that brave philosophy kept me going, it nearly proved to be my long-term undoing, as it gave me a rationalization to deny my illnesses and avoid seeking the help I desperately needed.
I wasn’t getting stronger. I was getting sicker. And continuing to harm others and myself.
As I became willing to admit I was sick and became open to healing through the work and journey of Recovery, my wounds that proved I was “fighting my demons that were trying to kill me” started becoming scars. And the experience, strength, and hope I had gathered along the way began making me a better person and enabled me to help fellow sufferers.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” -Kahlil Gibran