6 Misconceptions (and 6 Truths) About Living With a Mental Illness


As many of you probably know, last month (May) was Mental Health Awareness Month, so I thought I’d write a little about what I want the world to know as somebody living with mental health issues. If you would like to add anything to this post, please feel free to add your comments in the comment section! Thanks!

Misconception #1: Those of us who struggle with mental health issues are just acting a certain way for attention.

Truth: Most of us actually don’t like getting the negative attention that comes from struggling. We don’t “put on a show” for attention. We genuinely struggle with mental health issues.

Misconception #2: We want to struggle.

Truth: We hate struggling! Struggling with a mental health issue usually means sacrificing much of what we want.

Misconception #3: We can just “snap out of it.”

Truth: While it may be hard to understand, sometimes it’s easier to begin to feel anxious, etc. than to stop feeling that way. Our mental health issues cannot just be turned off whenever we wish. If it were that simple, we would have done it already.

Misconception #4: We are not trying to get better.

Truth: While it may not seem like it, many of us are trying on a daily basis to get through our mental health issues. It can just be really difficult to do.

Misconception #5: Everyone who has mental health issues is unable to think properly, etc.

Truth: We are just as intelligent and capable of thinking as the next person. Sometimes our anxiety and other issues just make things harder for us.

Misconception #6: Struggling with anxiety or another mental health issue is a sign of weakness and/or immaturity.

Truth: Struggling with a mental health issue usually has nothing to do with immaturity. Even the most mature of individuals can struggle. It does not mean we don’t want to grow up. In fact, many of us want to be able to be more independent and successful. Many of us already are.

What We Want:

Those of us who struggle with mental health issues want to be understood. However, many of us know some individuals simply don’t. We want the ones we love to care for us and support us. Additionally, those of us who struggle with mental health issues want to get better, want to be able to manage them more effectively. For some of us, doing simple things can seem difficult because our anxiety and other issues get in the way. We want to be able to push through our obstacles and get things done.

What You Can Do for Those Who Struggle:

If you know someone who struggles with a mental health issue, you should treat them like you would anyone else you care for. If we are struggling, the best thing to do is remind us you are here for us and that you care. If you want to know specific ways you can help, ask.

For All of You Who Struggle With Mental Health Issues:

You are not alone. Seriously! I know you might think it’s just something everyone says, but it’s true. Chances are at least one (and more than likely, more than one) person understands what you’re going through. They might not deal with the exact same issue as you do, but they probably deal with something very close. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people you trust. Don’t be afraid to share your story with others (in a safe way, of course). Chances are that someone will understand and listen, someone will care!

Follow this journey on Getting Through Anxiety.

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