Do you or someone you love suffer from some sort of mental illness? Chances are, even if you aren’t aware of it, the answer is yes. Mental disorders are extremely common and affect approximately 54 million Americans each year. Society doesn’t seem to accept mental illness as a legitimate debilitation, and it’s high time that changes. These 18 brave AskReddit users, each diagnosed with a mental illness, discuss the stigma that comes along with their diagnosis that they wish society would move past.
1. Highly Aware
“That schizophrenics don’t know they’re schizophrenic. That you’re only crazy if you don’t think you’re crazy. I know very well that my delusions are from my schizophrenia and I’m able to not react dangerously to them because of that, but that doesn’t make them less scary or difficult and it doesn’t make me not schizophrenic.”
2. We Can Disagree And It Has Nothing To Do With My Illness
“Bipolar here. Just because we are having a fight I must be having an episode. This one drives me crazy and I end up being a scapegoat.”
3. It’s Just A Part Of Me
“Depression and anxiety both. I’m so so incredibly sick of people thinking there is one specific thing that leads to my depression, or even my anxiety for that matter…Like, sometimes, I have days where I just feel completely empty, and emotionless, and I have no explanation whatsoever. On those days, I desperately want to be happy, but nothing changes. I could do all of my favorite things and spend time with all of my favorite people, and still feel like shit. Also, sometimes anxiety attacks are completely unprovoked.”
4. Fake It Till You Make It
“Just because I have a good day doesn’t mean I function like that when you don’t see me. Bad days are almost every day. Seeing me for 10 minutes picking up my kid from school occasionally doesn’t mean I am “Just faking it for the disability money.””
5. So. Much. Effort.
“”But you did so good in school and work!”…yeah…faking happiness and holding off my mental breakdown is kind of why I came home and lost it…I’m emotionally tired.”
6. I KNOW
“As someone who has phobias, please stop telling me there’s nothing to be afraid of. I am perfectly aware of that.”
7. That’s Not How It Works
“I’m tired of people thinking I can’t have ADD because I can “focus on a video game” for hours.
That’s not how that works.”
8. Taking A Mental Health Day
“Work stigma, I can call in and say I have a broken arm, I need a few days off, or I have the flu. But I can’t really say I’m in the hospital for depression. I mean I could but when I got back to work it would be all over the workplace and I’d get the raised eyebrows.”
9. Now Why Didn’t I Think Of That?
“”Just don’t think about it.’
Wow, I’m cured! That was easy, now I don’t need these pills.
Also, my mum often thinks of me as a moody cow because I tend to become agitated very easily. Especially as she does things that make it worse and then blames me for how it affects me.”
10. Thanks, Mom!
“Depression: ‘You have to want to get better.’ Thanks Mom.
Depression/anxiety/fear/mental paralysis: you have to ‘work harder,’ ‘man up,’ ‘push through it,’ ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself,’ and in general fix whatever you’re doing wrong that’s causing it.
With abuse, (I’m a guy, not sure about the gals) the suspicion that maybe you really did have some part in causing it. Thanks mom!”
11. No Guilt Trips Please
“People always think that depression is tied with laziness/not trying enough, and that a simple trick will resolve everything. I barely have the will to keep living, and this kind of talk is not going to help, instead it makes me feel even guiltier. And then they wonder why I’m not sharing my feelings as much as I used to.”
12. I Can’t Just “Suck It Up”
“That anxiety is something everyone feels and I should just suck it up. I know how I should feel, I felt that way for 23 years. All of a sudden, I developed GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and now constantly feel dizzy and on edge; some days unbearably so. Most people don’t know what fear is because to them fear lasts a half second, then they get over it. A panic attack is like experiencing that split second where you know you about to fall off a chair for 10 minutes. Most people recover from that fear in half a second, but to experience it for 10 minutes is excruciating.”
“The blank stare and change of subject you get when you try to talk with someone about depression. I don’t just open up to anyone, but when I do I’d like to think I won’t be treated like a leper.”
14. Educate Yourself
“OCD – Not typically about organization.
Sociopathy – I don’t deliberately hurt people, physically, emotionally, or mentally.
Schizophrenia – Not even close to Multiple Personality Disorder (now it is called Dissociative Identity Disorder).”
“In general? People who have no experience or real knowledge of mental health issues talking like they know and understand everything and continue to judge you.”
16. Medications Are Lifelines
“”Oh honey, you need to get off those antidepressants. Everyone feels down sometimes. You should just get more exercise!”
Bitch, these antidepressants are saving my life right now.”
17. It’s Not Typically ABOUT Something
“‘What do you even have to be depressed about?’ It doesn’t work like that…”
18. Just Because You Can’t See It, Doesn’t Mean It’s Not There
“My biggest frustration regarding mental health is that it’s perceived as somehow being less important than physical health.
If someone is physically injured, society is more understanding of the restrictions someone has given the circumstances. Break a leg? People will help you open doors, work will be understanding if you can’t come in.
Mental health though… I’ve got anxiety and depression – apparently not being an asshole is too much effort for some people. If I call up saying I’m not coming to work because of anxiety…well, work has no concept of “having a real fucked day” and people at work take it personally, almost as if my anxiety is a trigger of the work environment.”