"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow...the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, or can only be accepted."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mental illness isn't an illness

As usual...I had good intentions. I was going to take a little break from writing, and I was going to stay out of the whole Robin Williams news. But also as usual...I couldn't. I hit a breaking point and can't keep my mouth shut anymore.

I have heard some of the most ignorant statements in the last two days. Suicide is selfish. Suicide is the fault of loved ones. And my favorite mental illness isn't an illness. 

I've come to learn over my 23 years of life that ignorance must TRULY be bliss...considering so many choose to live there their entire lives. Mental illness isn't an illness. I keep repeating it because the statement itself is so distastefully obnoxious that I don't quite know how to wrap my mind around it. Mental ILLNESS isn't an ILLNESS. Um...

I've read articles, blog posts, and Facebook comments in the last two days that make me truly sad and even more so disappointed in this society. 

Let me be clear here. The shoes I decided to wear today...were a choice. Having chicken noodle soup instead of cooking last night...was a choice. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction...are NOT.

I have diagnosed depression and anxiety. It's scary as hell sometimes, and it can be truly miserable...why would I CHOOSE to feel like that? Why would anyone?

The answer is simple...they wouldn't. Because it's not a choice. It is an illness, and something that many times can't be controlled on your own. Personally, I recommend treatment for anyone struggling with mental illness. Sometimes it may be minor, and it may feel like you have everything under control...

Until you don't. 

Depression is terrifying, and something that can't be described to the outside world in any way that actually does it justice. It is mind numbing, it is frustrating, and it is exhausting. Occasionally it doesn't affect you. Things are butterflies and rainbows...until all of a sudden this dark storm comes rolling in and there's nothing you can do about it. It hinders your ability to feel anything, but at the same time it's a kind of numb that is haunting. Everything feels wrong, and you don't know why. 

People that don't understand tell you to just "get over it," "take a pill." Or my favorite "count your blessings." 

I can't just "get over it." I didn't CHOOSE to feel this way...I can't CHOOSE not to. I can try to fight it, but I can't always beat it on my own. It may just have to pass on its own. In a few hours, a few days, or maybe a few months. 

Why should I depend on a pill just to get through the day? Why should I take a medication just to make you less uncomfortable? Maybe you're right...maybe I do need medication. For all you know...maybe I'm already on it. Maybe I take a pill every night so I can sleep, every morning so I can function...and I go to a psychologist twice a week. You don't know. So you have no right to judge, or tell me how to deal with my disorder. 

Count my blessings. It's funny. What you also don't know about counting my blessings is how I haven't ended up completely losing my mind. I count them daily...and when negative thoughts overwhelm me...I focus on those blessings as hard as I can so I can push the hurt out. It doesn't always work...and it doesn't make me a bad person if I feel upset and don't know why. It also doesn't make me a bad person if the demons overwhelm me on occasion. 

I have been on medications, and I have chosen to take myself off of them. I know the major difference in day to day life when you go to treatment...when you seek help. It may seem like no one understands...but in reality there are so many people out there to help.

To the outside world...all of the people shaming those fighting a mental ILLNESS...


What do you gain by making those fighting feel like less of a person? Do you truly think that helps anything...other than your ego? If you don't understand it...don't judge it. And certainly don't put someone down because of your ignorance. 

The next time you feel the need to be negative...Google ways to help. If that's too much work, just keep your mouth if you think you can manage. But don't be cruel. 

Suicide is a choice...and that I won't argue. But for is the only choice they think they have left. The need to escape, and the exhaustion of fighting for so long gets to be too much. 

To be is not the only choice. There is always another option...and the chance for a much better life out of the shadows. 

Suicide is many things...a tragedy, heartbreaking, and something that must be fought against. But it isn't selfish. Someone fighting so hard to keep themselves going every day doesn't have the capability of being selfish. If they can't fight for themselves can you expect them to fight for someone else?

What's you judging them and putting them down instead of finding ways to fight with the survivors. 

And remember:

If you're not part of the're part of the problem.


  1. Well said. As someone who has dealt with depression, an eating disorder, and anxiety for the past 40 years (I'm 62), I know for a fact that I have an illness (or 3, I guess). There are times I do all I can, but at a point, it's out of my control. We have a real problem in this society, understanding feelings, emotions, and mental illness. The amount of ignorance and superstition about this is mind boggling. Thanks for making some really good points!

  2. I couldn't agree more. I get incredibly frustrated when people make comments about things they don't understand. I too deal with the anxiety and depression, and I do the best I can to fight it. But sometimes it's overwhelming...and there's just nothing I can do about it.