10 Things People With Mental Illness Want You to Know
Despite 1 in 4 people experiencing mental illness, talking about it can still be a taboo subject. So to help bring awareness, I asked 10 people who have dealt with mental illness on what they want others to know about mental illness and mental health.
“Taking medication for your mental health is not something to be ashamed about! It’s not a sign of weakness or an “easy way out.” It’s a sign that you need some extra help and you’re taking the steps to make your life better.
Medication is just another tool to use to help with your mental health. Don’t be afraid to try it if you need it and never be embarrassed to take it if it’s helping you!”
-Emily | thatweirdgirllife.com
Comparison and invalidation
“A lot of people who are high functioning are still suffering just as much as someone else with the same condition. Just because someone might have put on makeup or got out of bed, doesn’t mean that they’re not depressed. We can’t just dismiss people who don’t look like a text book description of depression.
Likewise, two people with anxiety wont experience panic attacks the same. So it’s hurtful to say things like “well so and so was hyperventilating so yours can’t be that bad.” Rather than trying to catch people out, or invalidating how people feel we need to be better listeners, try to understand and stop comparing everyone.”
-Ash | thisdreamsalive.com
Managing a career with bipolar disorder
“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 2) a year into my PhD; I wish people understood how hard it is to manage mental health alongside an ambitious career. It’s possible, but it’s really hard.”
-Sophie | infraredrum.com
Stereotypes and Preconceptions
“Society has its preconceptions and stereotypes surrounding many mental illnesses. For example, many people believe you have to be underweight to have an eating disorder. I’m a curvy girl but I suffer from an eating disorder (bulimia) and some people, including medical professionals refuse to believe it”
–Emily | planningwithem.com
Darkness in mental illness
“The scary thing about mental health is that we are able to help others because we know what the darkness feels like. But when it’s our own darkness, the darkness we have lived with for years, we become addicted to it. We cannot live without it because it feels as if it is a part of us.
I was diagnosed with BPD a few years ago and it’s a lifelong mental illness. So the question is, am I addicted or have I made peace that the darkness will be there?”
-Libby | werecoverloveandgrow.com
Easier said than done
“We know. We know we can be difficult to handle, or be around, or put up with, or understand, or forgive. We know that lying on the sofa all day isn’t the best use of our time. We know that eating well is good for you, as is exercise, going to bed at a decent time, and getting up in the morning. We know that going for a walk in the forest is nice, and we know that taking medication isn’t.
But you need to know, that we’d stop it if we could. We’d be the most friendly, exciting, warm, and comforting people if we could. We’d love to remember to eat, be able to sleep, or face the start of yet another day. We’d like to swap the smell of a pharmacy, for the smell of a forest.
If only it were as simple as knowing what we know.”
-Early Morning Barking | earlymorningbarking.com
Anxiety and panic attacks
“I want others to understand; with my anxiety, I can have panic attacks without showing it. I can be shaking when I am with loved ones. My acne might flare up from my panic attacks. If I don’t make eye contact with you, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to look at you; I am just anxious. Anxiety always looks different.”
-Christine | @christinemhw on Instagram
Borderline personality disorder
I have borderline personality disorder. We are not monsters. We are not evil. We have trouble regulating our emotions and we are doing our best to navigate adulthood in the aftermath of a childhood where we were stripped of our coping tools.
-Jessica | unpluginitiative.com
It’s different for everyone
Mental illness isn’t linear. Depressed individuals wear a smile. Some with anxiety suffer silently. Panic attacks aren’t always visible. A lot of us suffer alone because we don’t know what’s happening – and others out mental illness into specific bubbles. But we’re all different, and this includes mental illness.
-Tonyalee | vivaciousbibliophile.com
Having an invisible illness
“People think that because mental illness is in the brain, that it is not real or not as important as a physical illness. But mental illness can cause just as much, if not more, pain as a physical illness can. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
There you have it, 10 things people with mental illness want you to know. Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this post. Show them some love and check out their links listed above.
What do you wish people knew about mental illness? Leave your thoughts below.