Challenging and Changing What We Hear About Mental Illness


“You are (diagnosis).”
I’m not.

“Your condition has no cure.”
It doesn’t.

“You will be on medication for the rest of your life.”
I am (at least for now).

“Your doctor is the best expert on what you are dealing with and what you need.”
My doctor is an important member of my recovery team, but I am the leader.

“You will need to learn when you need to go to the hospital. You can expect this to be part of your life.”
My last hospitalization was 13 years ago.

“Going a mainstream school would set you up for failure.”
College and graduate school didn’t.

“No one likes to admit they are not a whole person.”
I am a whole person. I am a worthwhile person.

“Many people with mental health conditions recover.”
I will recover.

“You are the expert.”
I am the only expert on me.

“You know what you need to recover.”
I am creating my recovery.

“You have strengths and experiences not everyone has had.”
I have learned from this.

“Your insights can help us help others.”
Thank you.

“You can choose whatever path you’d like with your life.”
I want to be a therapist.

“It takes courage to share your experiences.”
My experiences will help me relate to and help others.

My recovery has been a journey. It is one I am still on. It is possible I will have these challenges for the rest of my life, but I am coping. I can do the things I want to do anyway. I am able to use my own experiences to empathize with others. I am able to share my experiences to influence the messages others with my conditions receive. We do not have to believe every message we receive about our conditions. We can change these messages.

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

Thinkstock photo via naruedom


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


Related to Mental Health

indian woman writing while lying on wooden floor

How Writing Saved My Life and Gave Me Hope in the Face of Mental Illness

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. My first memory of wanting to die is pretty vivid. I was 8 years old. I was thinking about what it would be like to not exist. To my child [...]
Sad Teenage Boy Sitting on A Bench

Why People Shouldn't Joke About Mental Illness

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. Mental illness is invisible. It has no fever or wounds to alert people to the [...]
guarded woman picking nails wearing heavy coat

How Friendship Works for Me and My Mental Illness: A Poem

I feel like I don’t feel. I am safe inside my head. I have a hard shell you can’t crack. I have armor of steel. But then you say hello And I say hello back, And I need to remove my metal glove So I can shake your hand. We talk and I sweat beneath [...]
a woman pointing out into the sea. Text reads: 27 unexpected consequences of opening up about your mental illness

27 Unexpected Consequences of Opening Up About Your Mental Illness

While the state of your health and well-being is nobody’s business but your own, there’s a difference between keeping quiet about your mental illness because you’re a private person, and keeping quiet because you’re afraid of how others will react. Because while everyone deserves privacy, no one should feel like they have to be silent [...]