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.

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

Lead image via contributor


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


Related to Mental Health

BoJack Horseman and Jessica Jones

17 TV Shows (Streaming Right Now) People With Mental Illness Relate To

It’s no secret that art can imitate life. Perhaps this is why we often find movies and TV shows so relatable. When searching for a good TV show to watch, we sometimes find ourselves looking for characters who represent our experiences or have plot lines that speak to what we’ve gone through in our lives. [...]
An illustration of a girl in a dark pit reaching up to the light

To the People Who Wake Up Feeling Everything

I didn’t feel it unless it hurt. I needed it to hurt because I needed to feel it. This is how I had grown accustomed to living. Unless it stung and screeched and left its marks up and down my body, I didn’t really feel it. But I didn’t want to keep needing the pain; [...]
watercolor portrait of a woman.

To My Mental Illness: You Will Never Break Me

To the darkness that has made a home in my mind: You don’t leave me alone. I know you think you’re helping, but your constant presence is dragging me down into an unimaginably deep sadness. I know what you want; you want to be understood and to protect me from dangerous situations and judgment. I [...]
black cat sitting on green oven mitt

5 Ways Animals Play an Important Role in Mental Health

As a natural born animal lover and someone who has spent most of her life working in the pet industry, I may be a little biased when I say that keeping animals as pets does wonders for the human psyche. But there have been a number of studies done over the years stating that frequent [...]