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12 Photos That Show the 'Embarrassing' Sides of Mental Illness

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If you live with a mental illness, you might be acquainted with some unwanted or “embarrassing” symptoms in your life.

Maybe you struggle with motivation to shower, so your hair is always greasy and unkempt. Maybe you struggle with skin picking and don’t know how to stop. Or maybe you get blotchy patches on your skin when you’re anxious and don’t know how to explain it to others.

Though it’s completely natural to feel embarrassed sometimes, we want you to know these things are nothing to be ashamed of. You’re never alone in your struggles. The only way we can break the shame and stigma surrounding “embarrassing” symptoms is to talk about them. That’s why we asked our Mighty community to share one photo that shows an “embarrassing” side of mental illness.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1.  “This was me in the middle of a panic attack over nothing. I was just driving home and started to freak out, I don’t remember why. It was rough though, I remember that.” — Kaitlyn R.

woman crying

2. “This photo was taken last year. When my thoughts are a mess, my space becomes a mess. It isn’t as bad as before now.” — Lyss A.

messy room

3. “Skin picking. Dermatillomania. Always had this, but it acted up as a side effect of starting a new medicine for my bipolar. It’s something I was so ashamed of and got bullied for so much in school. But I finally learned to be comfortable in my skin.” — Melanie H.

woman with skin picking wounds on face

4. “I took this photo after I had a massive panic attack! I never knew I look this exhausted after a panic attack..” — Annas B.

man crying

5. I tend to get real red and blotchy when my PTSD is triggered. It’s embarrassing in public because it can happen very quickly after I’m triggered. I can usually feel when I’m turning red. I often want to escape to somewhere alone and cry.” — Brandy G.

woman showing blotchy neck of hives

6. “While I might have makeup on and I ‘seem’ to be happy, this was taken hours after I’d gone through an episode where I completely shaved my head. I don’t think things through and midway through, I regretted doing it. It’s extremely embarrassing to have zero control over your emotions and the things these emotions make you want to do. Definitely a lifelong struggle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.” — Amber M.

woman with makeup selfie

7. I hate how awful my kitchen is and how long it’s been like this –which is months. I literally have zero motivation and when I do I take one look at it, I think, ‘What’s the point?’ which makes me feel worse. It’s embarrassing but it’s not because I’m lazy — it’s purely because I have no motivation and no energy. Every time I go into my kitchen it brings me to tears.” — Steph W.

messy kitchen

8. “Self-care neglect. Massive depression and BPD can drain your energy. So much so that such a simple task of brushing your hair seems impossible. I mean, it’s up in a ‘mom bun’ anyways, so who is gonna notice? When you finally get a little energy to shower and brush your hair, it turns into an hour task of brushing out knots that formed under your bun.” — Harley D.

woman pointing out her greasy hair

9. “I took this picture after my first big breakdown in front of my husband. He’d seen me have episodes before but this was the worst one. I was so embarrassed. Before this, I had been doing a lot better and hadn’t had an episode as bad as that one in years. (The episode was triggered by a conversation with a family member)” — Danielle L.

woman with face in hands

10. “Me losing it at 3 a.m. because old memories made a comeback due to a simple trigger. It lasted for hours until my husband woke up and took the day off work to spend the day with my son and I. I don’t even remember taking the picture, I just remember not being able to stop crying.” — Pixie M.

woman crying selfie

11. No sleep for two days.” — Tim U.

tired man selfie

12. “’Unstable sense of self.’ This is every girl’s dilemma: can’t choose which clothes to wear, but for someone with BPD, it’s more than that. Picking up the clothes you’re going to wear is also giving definition to who you are today or who the person you’re trying to portray is. Sometimes you have to copy somebody’s style just to feel that you have identified who you are.” — Shaira M.

messy closet

Can you relate? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally published: January 14, 2019
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