What I Wish You Understood About My Mental Illnesses


I am not a well person.

While I’ve had endometriosis since I was 16, and I’ve had asthma since forever, my long-term more “serious” chronic health issues are far more recent. They were created by a bout of unfortunate illnesses: glandular fever, meningitis, and then, finally, encephalitis.

Due to chronic fatigue, I am often always tired, no matter how much sleep I get. I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere and at any time.

I wish you understood that.

I wish you understood me when I say I’m exhausted.

I wish you understood how difficult it is, at times, to do the most basic tasks.

I wish you understood that no matter how much I want to work full-time, doing so takes an incredible toll on me.

I wish you understood that it takes so much extra effort do the activities you deem “normal.”

I wish you understood that I now experience severe anxiety disorder and clinical depression.

I wish you understood that my mental illness is real — that I see a therapist and I take medication.

I wish you understood this is real: I am not depressed or anxious in an attempt to gain “attention” or “sympathy.”

I wish you understood how difficult it is for me to trust now, after being betrayed the way I was.

I wish you understood how difficult it can be for me to go out with people I truly trust — let alone when I meet new people.

I wish you understood how deeply those people affected me, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot just “get over it.” After all, it wasn’t just them. It was also all those that never listened.

I wish you understood that sometimes I have self-harmed in the past, not for attention, but I wanted some control over the never-ending pain I was feeling.

I wish you understood that when I tried to kill myself, I felt like I was drowning. It wasn’t for attention. How could it be, when, until recently, only my husband knew what I’d done? It wasn’t for attention. It was because, in that moment, I truly believed no one cared. No one was listening. I felt alone.

I wish you understood that suicide, or attempted suicide, isn’t about you – even if it feels that way. It’s about the person who feels depressed.

I wish you understood how hard it is for people with mental illnesses to speak out and the extreme courage that bravery takes.

But mostly, I wish you understood that depression and anxiety aren’t things a person can just “snap out of.”

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image by m-gucci


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

young woman is looking forward

5 Ways to Help a Loved One With Depression (Besides Saying 'I'm Sorry')

“Oh, I’m sorry, hun.” “I’m sorry to hear you’re going through that.” I’m tired. I’m tired of the words, “I’m sorry.” At this point, if you could just come up with another way of phrasing that, I’d appreciate it. I’m not looking for you to feel sorry for me. When I tell you about my [...]
Woman in streetcar alone

What I Want People to Understand About Casually Using the Word 'Depressing'

I was on the bus home today and I overheard two people talking. During their conversation one of them used the word “depressing.” They used it where a different word could have been used. One woman said, “I would have had to wait 15 minutes for the other bus so I got this one instead, and [...]
An aerial view of the University of North Carolina campus and surrounding area in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

I Won't Let Depression Keep Me From Going to UNC

Ever since the fifth grade, I’ve dreamed about going to UNC-Chapel Hill and majoring in English. Right now though, that dream seems like merely a wish, like a shot in the dark. I’ve dreamed about what it would be like to start there as a freshman, and can almost see myself passing the Old Well walking [...]
Older woman in harsh lighting, semi profile.

When Depression Makes It Hard to Feel

What is invisible and steals your joy? Depression. It simply sucks the life out of you. You can be surrounded with those you love. You know you love them, you know you love spending time with them, but you’re simply numb. You can be surrounded with things you love, but you’re just there, struggling. You [...]