Why My Mental Illness Isn't Like a Movie Stereotype

We have all seen the movies — the “hopeless,” anxiety-ridden girl who is saved by the knight in shining armor. Or the boy who is so depressed but love makes him decide life is worth living.

We have seen the movies, we have read the books and we all love them, but they’re not real. My mental illness isn’t romantic. You can’t fix it by loving me, or by showing me a new way to look at the world, and although it might make me feel better it won’t fix my brain.

My mental illness is not a romantic comedy, something that can be fixed by attaching himself to someone. My mental illness is serious, and you cannot fix it. That’s a hard pill to swallow, I know it is. You want to fix me. You want to make me better. And I appreciate it, I truly do, but I am not a project. Medication, therapy, meditation and your support will all make it easier for me to handle my illness, but it isn’t romantic.

It won’t be the topic of many deep conversations; I’ll probably try to talk as little as I can about it. I won’t sit there and tell you my war stories — you don’t need to hear them. It’s hard enough to fight this battle without you trying to save me. It might sound harsh, but this is my dragon to slay. Thank you for loving and supporting me, but please don’t romanticize my mental illness. You’ll end up disappointed I’m not fixable, and I’ll end up blaming myself for not being able to be fixed.

So love me, support me, hold me when I cry, let me talk when I want to talk, and hand me the sword when it comes time to fight and slay the dragon. My illness isn’t romantic; it’s an illness. With your help, I can learn to live with it, but neither of us can make it go away. And the sooner we both realize that, the better.

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

Unsplash photo via Everton Vila

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

Related to Mental Health

Beautiful woman looking up with flowing abstract hair with butterflies. Face and hair are on separate layers. Extra folder includes Illustrator CS2 AI and PDF files.

How Mental Illness Recovery Brought Out My Real Personality

Recovery is such an important, difficult, amazing, frustrating, relieving and everything in between emotional state. Recovery can mean a lot of things, despite what the preconceived notion of what it actually is. Throughout the process of pinpointing battles and figuring the best strategy for recovery — whether it be therapy, support and/or medications — we have to [...]
A woman standing on a bridge

I Have a Dream for People With Mental Illness

It’s unfortunate that after all these years, it seems we are back tracking and doomed to repeat history. I don’t know about you, but the current events around the world have been bringing me down. Stories of bias and prejudice, judgement based on the color of our skin, our religion, our nationality, our sex, our [...]
man taking image of two smiling women on smartphone

When People Think You're 'Too Functional' to Have a Mental Illness

If you are a high-functioning person with a “hidden” illness, mental or physical, you’re probably familiar with the standard conversation that goes along with telling people. It starts with you saying it and applying a new label to yourself. “I have _____.” Next, comes a clarifying question — “What? What’s that? What do you mean?” [...]
Nurse holding hand of senior woman in pension home

5 Ways Working as a Caregiver Helps Me Cope With My Mental Illness

I’ve been working as a caregiver for 10 years now. Right now, I work privately for a few families. When I tell people I work as a caregiver, often they comment about how it’s such a stressful job. I agree, it can be stressful. But working as a caregiver helps me manage my mental illness [...]