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To Those Who Think It 'Must Be Nice' to Be on Disability for My Mental Illness

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“It must be nice.”

If only I had a dollar for every time someone has told me those four words. That is the typical response I have gotten when I say “I don’t work. I’m disabled.” I’m not sure why people seem to think it is “nice” to be disabled from a mental illness. This is a perfect example of the stigma that exists with mental illness. It minimizes everything I have gone through and will go through on a daily basis. The impression is that I sit around watching TV all day or go shopping or whatever “fun” activity I choose to engage in.

The truth is:

There is nothing “nice” about not being able to function enough to be a “productive member of society.”

There is nothing “nice” about not being able to take proper care of yourself. Despite all your efforts, you physically cannot get out of bed, let alone shower and brush your teeth.

There is nothing “nice” about the thoughts I battle non-stop, morning and night. My mind tells me I am worthless and a burden on anyone who knows me. It is an endless barrage of negative thoughts.

There is nothing “nice” about seeing a therapist every week. Having to see multiple different ones who offer different therapy styles over the years.

There is nothing “nice” about seeing a psychiatrist every month. Hoping that they will find the right medication in the right combination to give you some relief. Knowing there is an endless sea of possibilities and feeling like you have tried them all.

There is nothing “nice” about going into the hospital, especially against your will. Feeling like a prisoner as every door is locked around you. Having your entire day dictated to you.

There is nothing “nice” about spending a month out of state away from your family and friends. A last ditch effort in trying everything possible to treat the symptoms of your trauma.

There is nothing “nice” about spending multiple months in a residential treatment program. Spending day after day talking and learning about your mental illnesses.

There is nothing “nice” about inflicting harm on your own body. Having to get medical attention when things go too far. Living with scars on your body that you hope no one sees.

There is nothing “nice” about having suicide attempts or thoughts. Constantly wishing for a life without the pain and suffering. Battling the conflict of knowing the effect it may have on those who love you and feeling like so much of a burden that everyone would be better off without you.

I can only speak for myself, but I would happily choose work over this any day. I know I am not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: February 21, 2017
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