Often times when discussing our feelings, thoughts and experiences with friends or loved ones, the responses can vary. When it comes to dealing with mental illness, there is no exception to the rule, however, it is more brushed off or ignored than most topics of discussions.
When telling people close to me that I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, a lot of people were shocked. I always wore a mask when being around people, always tried to keep a smile on my face and try to be the life of the party. Yet, when I finally decided to tell those closest to me what was going on, I was a bit taken back by the responses. Responses like, “You’ve just been doing too much, you’re fine”, and ex of mine long before I married responded that “I just wanted attention, and nothing was wrong with me.” The most annoying response was “It can’t be that bad, people are dying, don’t have families or a place to live. Trust me, it could be worse”.
People need to understand, having a mental illness is NOT A CHOICE. It’s not like you wake up one day and decide that you want to battle with yourself. Also, there are many different mental illness that have many different stages and layers to it. For example, when it comes to depression, one does not have to be sad all the time and go through an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes a person can function and do a daily routine. Sometimes, one has really great days and some days not so much. There is not a certain way to be when living with a mental illness.
I’ve said it once before and I will say it again, until people can get clear and separate the person from the mental illness, people will lack understanding. People need to listen without passing heat or judgment. People need to understand the way that one may handle their struggles are different from others. An the most important thing that people need to understand that everyone has their own story and for one to have an opinion on another’s story is not a good look. No one can tell the other how they should feel, how they should think and conduct a comparison of other things and people. Everyone has struggles, hardships and breaking points and all are not the same. My truth is validate, my story is valid, the things I may go through in MY life is valid, my struggles with mental illness is valid, My road and ways of healing is valid. No one can tell me or make me feel any different.