Mental Illness does NOT mean:

Mental Illness does NOT mean:

  • That someone is crazy
  • that someone is unable to function, think, work
  • That someone is an unfit parent

It continually amazes me that the term “mental illness” is bandied around as some kind of paint sprayer to color those of us with any psychiatric diagnosis as “less than”.   Somehow, because we are diagnosed with something psychiatric, that makes us crazy…makes us unable to be as competent or functional as the rest of you.  For instance, if you have a diagnosis of depression, your rates for life insurance go up..automatically..because the insurance company assumes you are suicidal.  There is a HUGE spectrum of depression that spans from low level “blues” to those with major depression with suicidal ideology.

Mental illness, like any other illness, is treatable.  With a combination of therapy and medication, most mental illness can be controlled well.  Yes, some situations are more difficult for us.  Sometimes, those things that would normally just “upset” someone else, spin us into a depressions.  Sometimes, our “sick” days are because we simply can’t get our brains working well that day.  It is no different than having another illness….like diabetes.  If you have diabetes, you take medication, and manage what you eat.  If you do that, you are less likely to have any symptoms.  There are always days, however, when you are not well, and may take a sick day.  Maybe you ate a bit too much of the “wrong” foods the previous day.  Perhaps you are changing medication and need a day to adjust.  If its because you are diabetic, then its no big deal.  If you have depression/anxiety disorder, or schizophrenia, or PTSD, then people assume you are “less than”.

Most people who meet me would never know that I suffer from mental illness.  I hold a full time job as a consultant, I volunteer with Hospice patients, I play cello in 2 orchestras, I am the mother of a teenage girl.  I pay my bills, have fun with my friends, go on vacation, and am damned good at my job.  I am considered intelligent, creative, and yes..even sexy.

I am, quite simply, the same as you.  I have my strengths and weaknesses like everyone else.  Next time you hear “mental illness”, think twice about how you judge that person.  They are just as “normal” as you are.

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