4 Things I Want You To Understand About Me As A Mentally Ill Person
A short list of points I would like you to consider pertaining to mental illness.
According to NAMI (National Institute on Mental Illness), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, or about 19%. Mental illness is a condition that affects an individual's thoughts, emotions, or mood.
I personally have struggled with mental illness for many years. As a result, I often feel isolated and/or misunderstood. I decided to compile a list of a few things I wish more people knew about me (and many others), as mentally ill persons.
1. Please remember: I'm trying my best.
As someone that suffers from a mood disorder, I can have great days and not-so-great days. Some days, I am a superhero and I get everything accomplished that I need to (and then some!). But then, there are days where I can't get out of bed. On these days I ask you to please be extra patient with me as I am trying my best to find the motivation to get up, shower, and go about my day. I don't always prevail at this, sometimes I do spend my whole day in bed or I won't get the dishes done or hardly anything at all. It's not that I don't want to, it is simply that no matter how much I try I physically cannot move my body.
On these days, I am guilty. I am guilty because I am not doing the things I need to do or even the bare minimum to take care of myself. Being depressed is, in itself, depressing! All I ask is that you be kind, understanding, and helpful during these periods.
2. I am, as a whole- inconsistent.
As stated before, I have good and bad days. As someone with a mental illness, I realized early on that there is no rhyme or reason to my moods. I can't switch from manic to depressed or vice versa at the drop of a hat.
While I can recognize the change in my moods, I can't control it. I can, however, use skills and tools I've learned in therapy but even so, I want you to understand I am an inconsistent person. I can function well for weeks at a time and then, without warning, the switch can flip. This can cause me to cancel plans and/or distance myself from others.
Please understand that I do not mean for this to happen and it is in no way a reflection of how I feel about you or our friendship. I cherish our friendship I simply need time and space to collect my thoughts.
3. I fight every day to be able to do the things people without mental illness can do.
It's true. I try every day to fit in and to be a productive member of society. I don't always succeed but I am always trying. I want to work, I want to socialize, I want to drive. I want to have a normal life, whatever that means! It's simply that this has never been so, but that doesn't mean I will give up.
4. I am not a bad, mean, or crazy person.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness, even today. People have targeted me because of my mental illness and have told me I am a psycho and crazy- all without ever talking to me or getting to know me.
This is very detrimental to a person's mental health in general. I can't speak for others but I know I personally already struggle with the notion of being "crazy" or different and when an outside source that took no time to get to know or understand me tells me it as well, I start to believe it.
Please try not to make assumptions when dealing with those that suffer from mental illness. Everyone is different and people can experience the same condition very differently. This does not mean any one person is worse than any other. It just means we are all different. It can be harmful to assume.
I hope this short list was insightful to some. It is important to understand mental illness and have these conversations because mental illness is so present in our world today. Thank you for reading.
*I am a 25-year-old female from Colorado who enjoys writing and helping others. I am currently on disability due to my mental condition(s). If you enjoyed this read or found it insightful or helpful please consider donating $1, thank you.*