I Am Not My Mental Illness
I am not a mental illness.
I am a human being.
The words you use matter.
I am not a monster.
I am not freaky, evil, toxic, scary or dangerous.
I am not the deranged villain in a horror movie.
I am not the unhinged killer in your local news.
I am not the escapee of an insane asylum.
I am not your crazy ex.
I am not abnormal.
I am not embarrassing, unattractive, stubborn, weird or impossible to deal with.
I am not your wacky uncle.
I am not your testy child.
I am not your pesky neighbor.
I am not lazy.
I am not stupid, useless, selfish, needy or uncaring.
I am not your rowdy student.
I am not a “freeloader scamming the system.”
I am not your pessimistic friend.
I can’t just “move on” and “get over it.” It’s not that simple. You can’t see the effort that I’m making.
I am not pathetic.
I am not weak, broken, fragile, feeble or defeated.
I am not an advertising slogan.
I am not a campaign talking point.
I am not a hashtag.
I don’t need pity. I need understanding.
I am not your entertainment.
I am not a silly t-shirt.
I am not a Halloween costume.
My life is not a reality show.
And while I can be funny — my life isn’t a joke.
I will heal at my own pace.
I am not an example in a textbook.
I am not a lesson in class.
I am not a case file.
I am not a statistic.
Some things I deal with I may be able to completely heal from; others I may have to learn to manage and live with.
Some may resolve rather quickly; others can take years to work through.
My pace will be different from someone else’s.
I am not making it up.
Just because you can’t see some of my symptoms doesn’t mean they’re not real. They exist inside of me, and I am real.
And just because you can see some of my symptoms, that doesn’t mean I should be treated differently than anybody else.
I have my good days and my bad days, just like you.
Sometimes I need help, just like you.
Sometimes I screw up, just like you.
Sometimes I just need a break, just like you.
Sometimes I just want to be able to live my life, just like you.
I am not a mental illness. I am a human being.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about. For many of us it’s just part of being human.
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Lead image via contributor