There are lots of things I wish I could say out loud about living with mental illness, but for some reason, I can never get the words out when I need to. So, I thought I’d make it a blog post.
Fair warning, some of these get a little sweary, and I should preface this by saying that I am part of the amazing mental health community on Twitter, the vast majority of whom never do any of these. This is more about encountering people who don’t have any personal experience with mental illness.
Anyway, here goes:
- I’m not lazy. I’m exhausted.
- I’m always trying my best. Every day. Every minute. Please don’t tell me I just need to try harder.
- No, I don’t want to go for a fucking walk or take a fucking bath. Fuck off.
- I don’t need you to fix me. I need your support to help me fix myself.
- I’m ill, not stupid. I’m actually quite intelligent. Don’t patronise me.
- No, I’m not thinking about coming off my meds. Why would I stop taking something that’s working at keeping me alive?
- No, I didn’t “miss my meds this morning”, I’m just having a bad day, and if you suggest that, you’re probably the reason why.
- Similarly, I’m allowed to feel a bit shit without it being linked to my mental illness. Feeling sad or angry or getting pissed off with someone every now and then is totally natural and doesn’t need to be “medicalised” or over-analysed every time, so please don’t dismiss my natural emotions or reactions as always part of my mental illness.
- Me feeling low doesn’t mean I’m suicidal, so please don’t assume I am.
- Self-harm is not a cry for attention. That’s a fucked up, insulting thing to suggest.
- Don’t ask about my scars. It’s blatantly obvious what they are, you don’t need to bring it up.
- Just because I talk quite openly about my mental health/illness online doesn’t mean I have to answer every single invasive, personal question I’m asked. I have the right to refuse to answer.
- “Presenting well” doesn’t mean I’m actually well. I’m using all my energy to appear well. I will likely crash later. Just bear that in mind.
- Just because your friend/family member/colleague with a mental illness says something is one way, doesn’t mean it’s that way for all. Having mental illness doesn’t make us all the same.
- I am more than my mental illness. We can talk about other stuff too.
Did any of these resonate with you? What are some of the things you wish you could tell people about your mental health/illness? Let me know in the comments.