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Filed Under: Personal
What People With Mental Illness Want You To Understand

What People With Mental Illness Want You To Understand

By Michelle Lunger

DISCLAIMER: When I say “we,” I don’t mean to generalize mental illness. I am just trying to share my experience and others I’ve known. I wrote this as a way of expressing myself and my illness, something I wish I could have said in the past. Just because some of us have felt this way does not mean everyone feels this way. Each of us experiences things differently so don’t feel left out if you don’t 100% connect to this post! If you ever feel differently, tell us your perspective in the comments! We would love feedback. Everyone’s mental health is unique to each person. 

It is so easy to feel misunderstood and alone when you have a mental illness. When I get depressed, I feel like I get further and further away from both myself and others. No one can hear my thoughts, my demons at war in my head. No one can feel the tightness of my chest and the lack of air I have to inhale and exhale during my panic attacks. Everyone has a different experience. It is hard for someone who hasn’t gone through what you’ve gone through to understand how you were feeling and what you were experiencing. We know you are trying to, we know it might make you uncomfortable, but we want you to know that we do need you. We don’t need advice nor do we need any direction- we just need someone to reassure us and let us know that it is going to be okay.

We want you to know that we are trying. We are not lazy. This is not easy, this is draining; both physically and mentally. You can’t see the aches and pains and the mental strain, but it is surely there. We are not crazy or making anything up. Believe us when we say we are not okay. Sometimes, we even say we are when we are not. Having a mental illness is like having a job. It truly is our first job because without managing it, everything else seems to fall. It is not always easy, there isn’t a magic pill that we can take to make this go away. It is a whole lifestyle and every experience is unique to each person. Every journey is someone’s own, and we can have good days and bad days just like everyone else. Therapy may work for one person and not for the other. Prozac might help one person, but Zoloft may help another. It is a trial and error process, unless you are lucky- but most of us are not.

We may not be the best at showing up and being timely, and maybe we always say no when we should say yes, but we do care. We give 100% in everything we do- it may not always be for ourselves, but we care about you too. During our episodes we are not the best people we can be, but we strive to be. We can’t control when this illness peaks, we can only prepare so much and let the rest run its course. We can ride the wave and we want you to ride it with us. We hope that you have open arms, even though we may struggle to open ours. We never want to put any of this on you and make you feel guilty or pity us. We just need someone to remind us when we can’t, that everything is going to be okay, because it has been before.