For someone living with a mental illness — or any type of illness — having a loving support system can be crucial. Love has the power to bring light in dark moments, help someone up when they fall and prove no matter how alone someone with a mental illness may feel, they still have people who have their back.

So — in the name of love — we asked people in our Mighty community who live with a mental illness to share how others can show them love. You, too, are loved, and we hope this list reminds you to tell someone in your community you love them, too.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Show me you love me without feeling bad for me. I want to feel loved, not felt sorry for.” — Rachel Kathleen Bourg

Mental illness quote: Show me you love me without feeling bad for me. I want to feel loved, not felt sorry for. — Rachel Kathleen Bourg

2. “When my depression gets out of hand and loved ones help me with light chores, cooking or even making sure I’ve eaten that day, it’s an incredible help.” — Rachel Morton

3. “An unexpected and loving text might do it for me, especially at a time when I’m feeling really low. When that happens, it means the texter had been thinking about me and decided to take the time to write me something nice.” — Julianne Leow

4. “Understand that when I’m absent (in whichever of the many ways I’m now often absent) that it has nothing to do with them or the way I feel about you. I’m not choosing to disappear.” — Kerstin Kirby

5. “Embrace me for me. Mental illness and all. Do not ask me how I’m feeling if you aren’t willing to listen and support me on the ‘dark issues’ as well as the ‘light’ issues.” — Lindsay Washington

Mental illness quote: Embrace me for me. Mental illness and all. — Lindsay Washington

6. “Treat me exactly how you always have. I’m not broken. I’m not something to be handled with kid gloves. I’m the same person I always have been. The only difference is a label I never asked to have attached to me.” — Michelle Balck

7. “Let me cry without telling me to stop and without judgment. Let me experience what I’m experiencing without trying to fix me or invalidate me!” — Marlena Davis

8. “Acknowledge the progress I make and to tell me you’re proud of me. I know the things I achieve are not big or applause-worthy in comparison to what I used to do, but I do still want to make my family proud.” — Erica Enos

9.For me, I just want to hear someone say, ‘It’s all right, I’m here for you.’ Those simple words makes a world of difference.” — Mary Hannah Cleve

Mental illness quote: For me, I just want to hear someone say, ‘It’s alright, I’m here for you.’ Those simple words make a world of difference. — Mary Hannah Cleve

10. “Smile, sit with me and listen to me. Love me for me. And at the end of the day, kiss me and tell me I’m not broken.” — Staci Legacy

11. “Let me know I’m loved in when I feel unloveable.” — Amy Griffin

12. “Tell me you love me without a ‘but.’ Sometimes I just need to hear, ‘I love you.’ Not, ‘I love you but you’re being irrational’ or ‘but you need to stop worrying.’” — Nikki DeMeyers

13.Offer to listen, unbiasedly.” — Myisha Hill 

Mental illness quote: Offer to listen, unbiasedly. — Myisha Hill

14. “Love me, not despite my illness, but love me illness and all. My symptoms are not a reflection of the real me, but my anxiety is still a part of my life that can’t be ignored. My boyfriend hugs me when I have a panic attack instead of just telling me to ‘get over it,’ and it’s really comforting.” — Nicole Campbell

15. “Be patient with me. I know it’s irrational sometimes — I hear the things that come out of my mouth — but I can’t make myself think rationally sometimes. So just realize that I’m trying. I have good days and bad days. Be patient when I need to be alone. Be patient when I need a hug. I’ll tell you what I need.” — Megan Turillo

16. “When someone says, ‘I have no idea what you’re going through,’ I feel loved. When they buy me a blank book to fill with my dark and light thoughts, I feel loved. When they bring me a new plant that isn’t too hard to keep alive, I feel loved. When they tell me they’re glad I exist, I feel loved.” — Karina Ray

17. “Accept that nothing will ‘fix’ this. Accept me for who I am.” — Martha Shay Vogler 

Mental illness quote: Accept that nothing will ‘fix’ this. Accept me for who I am. — Martha Shay Vogler

18. “Sometimes I just need someone to say, ‘I can see you’re struggling, I can see you’re hurting and I recognize it’s not my job to be sorry. Please understand I love you even as you go through this difficult period.’” — Leigh Elizabeth

19. “Validation. Validate that everything I feel and everything I fear is real to me, even if not to the outside world. Validate my reality.” — Moneique Moralez

20. “I was feeling especially awful one day recently. I sent my husband a text (for me, writing is easier than speaking words). I was apologizing for my anxiety. It makes me act irrationally and detach and it’s not fair to my family. His simple response: ‘I accepted the way you are years ago, just as you accepted me for who I am. I love you. All of you. We’ll get through this just like we do with everything else.’ I know he doesn’t fully understand what it’s like but he doesn’t question it — he just accepts me for me. It’s better than any therapy or medication I’ve ever tried.” — Alicia Maley-Westforth

21. “Please, just act normal! It gives me a sense of normality when I’m far from it! It also helps me feel less guilty about my illness inconveniencing others.” — Carol Zimmerman

22. “Honestly, sometimes I don’t need you to say a word — simply give me a hug.” — Brittany Isabella

Mental illness quote: Honestly, sometimes I don’t need you to say a word — simply give me a hug. — Brittany Isabella

*Answers have been edited and shortened. 

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If you need a little inspiration to get you through your day today, our mental health community has got you covered. We asked our readers who live with a mental illness to share some quotes that have helped them along their own journeys.

We hope at least one of these resonates with you:

1. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (submitted by Eva Gigis)

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2. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”
Charles Bukowski from “Gamblers All” (submitted by Ashley Mobley)

3. “There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way, no day but today.” — “No Day But Today,” Rent (submitted by Colleen McDaniel)

4. “Promise me you’ll always remember — you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin from “Winnie the Pooh” (submitted by Monica Jean Cozadd)

5. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Saint Francis of Assisi (submitted by Sherri Paricio Bornhoft)

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6. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross from “Death: The Final Stage of Growth (submitted by Laura Ito)

7. “Not a famous quote, but I had a doctor in college who told me to try to leave the house every day. For 25 years that’s helped me. Sometimes I just go to the mailbox or the store, but that’s enough. It helps to break the cycle when I’m stuck.” — Rue Brown

8. “Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character.” — Pastor Rick Warren (submitted by Leisl Stoufer)

9. “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have the right to be here.” — Max Ehrmann from “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life” (submitted by Sydney Anne)

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10. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” — Douglas Adams from “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” (submitted by Alyse Ruriani)

11. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — Dr. Seuss from “The Lorax” (submitted by Sarah Littlewood: “I feel that this is saying that unless I care a whole lot about myself nothing will get better.”)

12. “Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.” — Charlie from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (submitted by Julia Ann Lange)

13. “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Amy March, from “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott (submitted by Sarah Mackey)

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14. “’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'” —  
J.R.R. Tolkien from “The Fellowship of the Ring (submitted by Chelsea Haire)

15. “Just keep swimming” — Dory from “Finding Nemo” (submitted by Vanessa Bird)

16. “You are valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.” — Max Lucado from “No Wonder They Call Him the Savior” (submitted by Lindsay Bee)

17. “In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.”  — Albert Camus from “Return to Tipasa” (submitted by Heather Nehr Hall)

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18. “I believed in my capacity to stand back up and run into the waves again and again, no matter the risk.” — Terry Tempest Williams from “When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice” (submitted by Alyse Ruriani)

19. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Fredrick Douglas from his “West India Emancipation” speech (submitted by Francis Strait)

20.I have come to realize making yourself happy is most important. Never be ashamed of how you feel. You have the right feel any emotion you want, and do what makes you happy.” — Demi Lovato in a interview with Seventeen (submitted by Liz Liz)

21. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” — Oscar Wilde from “An Ideal Husband(submitted by Christina Chalgren)

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22. “One of my professors said something in class the day I finally told him I needed help. He said that you could look at things as though you’re struggling, or striving. I’ve tried to remember that when I feel like I am stuck in mental quicksand. I’m striving…” — Annabel Rodman

23. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill (submitted by Kirsten Della Santina)

24. “Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.” — Ovid (submitted by Laura Ito)

25. “Your days are like pages, the chapters unread; you have to keep turning, your book has no end.” — “Glass Hearts,” by Of Mice & Men (submitted by Kylie Wagner-Grobman)

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I know many people who pick or prod at scabs or pimples. You’re bored or getting ready for school or work and you see this gross bump on your face or arm or leg and you have to get it off. Then you do and you’re relieved and move on with your day. But what if you felt the need to do that with every little bump on your skin? From a pimple, a freckle, a scratch, a scab, a mark, a scrape, anything — you had to pick it away. Any little deformity you had to pick off.

Then you bleed and a new scab grows and you pick at it and it bleeds and a new scab grows and you pick at it and the cycle continues. But it’s all over your body. Eventually your face is covered with scars and your ears are bleeding from infections and your legs have scabs galore that you just can’t seem to stop picking off. It’s gross and it hurts, but you do it anyway.

I always pick at anything on my face, to the point of having little divots in my head from picking so much. I hit the very top of my head on the bottom of the pool when I was 15. Of course it bled and a scab grew and then I picked. I picked and I picked until I had a big bald spot on the top of my head with a huge scab in its place with blood oozing out. People always ask me, “Why is your ear bleeding?” or “What happened to your face?” The answer is I have excoriation disorder.

Excoriation disorder is obsessive picking of the skin. Picking isn’t something I want to do. I pick at my skin because I have a compulsion to pick. It hurts and I know it’s bad for me, but I feel the need to do it no matter what! I never want to go out places because I have all these bloody scabs on my face and my hand is on my head or in my hair searching for something to pick. Sometimes the need to pick feels so essential, like the need to breathe. If you don’t pick at that scab, it’s there and it’s an imperfection on the skin and it’s uncomfortable. I always wonder if it is more uncomfortable to pick at the scab or just leave it because the feeling of not picking it off is so intense. It’s hard to stop. It’s so hard to stop.

People don’t understand. I didn’t even know what I was doing had a name or diagnosis until two years ago. People will judge you and look at you weird. But I just want to let people who have this disorder know that they’re not alone. Even if it feels that way, you’re not alone.

The Mighty is asking the following: For someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have your mental illness, describe what it’s like to be in your head for a day. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Most of my life has been far from a picnic when it comes to people, especially those I see on a regular basis. Classmates, club members, co-workers, people you are often forced to associate with.

Out of the dozens or so people I associate with daily, I get along with many. Some are great friends I hang out with on occasion, others are just those who respect me. And others, well, let’s just say are far from magical.

I grew up with a lot of abuse from many of my classmates and co-workers from jobs in the past, and some situations are triggers to my post-traumatic stress disorder, which has kicked into high gear the last five years or so. Those instances always made me question my worth in this world. Why can’t I do the things others can do? Why some people can succeed and excel better than I can, and yet no matter what I do, it just isn’t enough.

I’ve built up a shell since my days as a kid, learning how to fight back or simply just walk away to let karma run its course.

But sometimes, that shell can crack, the yolk of emotions leaks out, and things get messy.

Sometimes Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again.

I want to find my worth in this world, even if it’s just selling tickets and working a decent job until I can retire. I want to find true love beyond my current situation where I would be respected and not judged. And although medically I can’t have kids without it being a high-risk pregnancy, I still want to have my own family.

I want the world to know that while I feel like my disabilities force me to be one step behind my peers, I’m pushing twice as hard and demand respect and dignity.

I may not be the best worker. I may get emotional when things trigger me. Sometimes I don’t read visual cues too well and make mistakes. But hasn’t anyone done the same thing at one point?

People like me, we want to be respected, loved and most of all, accepted.

I don’t want to settle for less than that. And I believe nobody should. Even those I consider my enemies.

I wish my disability meant no hate or discrimination, and no pain from others too ignorant or misinformed to understand.

I just want to be me. And be accepted for it, instead of having any dignity I have left taken from me. I battled many demons in my life; why should I have to battle more?


After years of living with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, I’ve managed to compile a list of useful tips that hopefully will help others survive the mental illness journey they’ve found themselves on. Mental illness is like any other illness, and over time you learn to manage it as best as you can. The only expert I claim to be is on myself, but I hope these help you.

1. Find a psychologist or psychiatrist who treats you with compassion and respect.

This is harder than it sounds. I’ve gone through a few because most of the psychiatrists I’ve seen were via the emergency room or while in treatment. I struggled to find one who would see me on an ongoing basis. But I finally found one who has been my doctor for the last two years, and the consistency has been wonderful. He’s seen me through a 23-day stint at a treatment facility, several med changes and has witnessed both my successes and my relapses. Having him there for all the ups and downs has been one of the only consistent things in my life.

2. Once you find a treatment plan that works, stick to it. 

I have a wide assortment of meds that I take to help manage my condition and there’s some side effects I don’t like. But I follow what’s given to me until I see my doctor again. There was a time I thought I could manage my own medication, and I ended up in hospital. I’ve learned to speak up when something doesn’t seem right, but stick to what’s working.

3. Trust your gut. 

I learned to listen to myself. I know when things are going downhill and when I should reach out for help. When I stop showering, miss work or cry uncontrollably I know it’s time to pull in my supports. I used to believe I could pull myself out of it on my own, but have come to understand it’s not that easy. I don’t have to try to climb out of the hole on my own.

4. Practice self-care.

This is a tough one. I’m damn good at loving and nurturing others, but find it difficult to do the same for myself. It helps when I imagine myself as someone else who I’m helping through a difficult time. I tell myself to go easy and get plenty of rest. I have to admit that it doesn’t always work, but at least I try.

5. Find a purpose.

For me, that purpose has been helping others going through the journey of mental illness. I volunteer my time to organizations that help raise awareness for mental health issues. and speak openly about my own struggles for others who may be finding their own way. Giving back to others makes me feel better about myself and gives me a reason for going on.

6. Accept love into your life.

When you come from a place without love and acceptance, it’s hard to believe you’re worthy of it at all. I’m here to tell you that you are. We all deserve to have love and kindness. There are people in this world who are good, kind and generous, and those are the people you want on your team to help you heal.

7. Accept yourself for the beautiful and unique person that you are.

You are not weak. You have incredible gifts to offer the world – and you need to stick around to give them. If you have intense emotions, it’s part of what makes you who you are. It’s OK to accept those parts of yourself.

8. Connect with people who are going through similar issues. 

Therapy and group counseling saved my life. Finding like-minded individuals in group therapy was like finding my peeps. I felt accepted and wanted for the first time in my life. There’s many group therapies out there, and I’d encourage anyone to check it out.  

9. Learn to advocate for yourself.

Mental health services are tricky to navigate. Sometimes we start with our family doctor, but don’t stop there! Educate yourself about the treatment options that are available in your area. Join discussion groups online to find out what services might be helpful for you on your journey.

10. Never give up on yourself.

There’s going to be times when the pain seems unbearable and you won’t know how you can possibly go on. But you can. Rest if you must, but soldier on. Remember you are not alone.

Follow this journey on Diary of a Girl With BPD.

The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or illness. It can be lighthearted and funny or more serious — whatever inspires you. Be sure to include at least one intro paragraph for your list. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

10 Survival Tips For Living With a Mental Illness

Hi there!

When the Twitter account Team Not Ashamed tried to get the #imnotashamed movement going to spread mental health awareness, you used the hashtag to make your own point. You tweeted that people should naturally regulate the biochemicals in their brains by living healthy, and that drugs only keep people artificially happy.

Harmful, shameful and not true. Although diet and exercise can help manage symptoms, mental illness doesn’t care how well you eat or how fit you are.

As someone who lives with mental illness and knows the benefits of these meds, I tried to explain that your tweets were harmful. At a certain point, I realized there was no getting through to you so I tweeted, “I’m sad that you’re scaring people away from meds that could save their lives. Meds aren’t the enemy, stigma is. #imnotashamed.” It wasn’t a personal attack; I was trying to show people that medications for mental illness should be normalized. You replied, “Like any drug user, you are protecting your drug. People say they’re bad; except other drug users and dealers.” I was not offended by you, but was instead hurt that so many people have the same mentality I had years ago. If I had read your tweets then, I’m not sure if I would be here today.

It’s hard to tell if you’re a person who has been negatively impacted by psychiatric medications or just a “troll,” but whoever you are I hope you’ll listen to my story. As you know, my name is Nicole Campbell. What you don’t know is that I’ve lived with generalized anxiety disorder for over 10 years and major depression on and off despite only being 23 years old. For years I tried to get help for feelings I didn’t understand and couldn’t put into words. Before I was diagnosed, I was just the “overly sensitive girl” and a “moody teenager.” I was bubbly at school and threw myself into any activity I could to distract from my pain. Once I got into my bedroom after school, I was paralyzed and suffocated by my anxiety and cried myself to sleep. When I was first diagnosed and treated, it was a guessing game. I tried medication after medication. Moved from one therapist to another. Had to deal with my diagnosis changing faster than I changed my gym clothes.

I understand the negative place you’re coming from. Many of the medications prescribed weren’t right for me. Some aggravated my migraines, made me a zombie and some just didn’t work at all. At the worst point, when I was misdiagnosed with bipolar II disorder, I was put on mood stabilizers that made my depression the worst it had ever been. I had to jump through so many hoops to get a doctor to listen to me when I said my medication was making me feel suicidal. I had to be voluntarily hospitalized to get switched off that medication and start another one. That one didn’t help my symptoms, but I was no longer suffering as much as I had been.

After a while I gave up on meds all together. But the therapist I was seeing was phenomenal. She never babied me, but she didn’t tear me down either. I could be honest with her about anything and she didn’t judge. With her help, I thought I was fixed. My depression was gone, my anxiety was minimal and life was good. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn’t care if you get straight As, have a great boyfriend or a great life plan. My crippling anxiety came back in full force.

Over the years, I’ve learned to treat my anxiety and depression like my asthma; sometimes I just need an inhaler or emergency panic attack medicine, while other times I need to take maintenance medication to keep these conditions in check. I see my therapist every other month and practice mindfulness. Most of the time, I can talk myself through a panic attack and don’t need meds, but I will never resent the times I have been helped by them. I am lucky to have access to them.

I’m very familiar with the tragedies that can happen when people don’t get proper treatment for mental illness. I lost five people in my life, including one of my uncles and several classmates, because of stigmatizing views like yours. People like you are why I keep speaking, tweeting and fighting.

Sincerely,

A stigma fighter

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