The last prompt in the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge asked what is the best thing in regard to your mental illness, so it stands to reason that today it asks what is the worst thing in regard to your mental illness?
Although there are many ‘worst’ things about having a mental illness – the stereotyping, the psychiatric system, the stigma, the violent mood swings, the suicidal urges – far and away top of the list would be that it stops me from ‘being me’, or rather, it stops the real world from seeing the real me.
It’s not that they just see my ‘label’; it’s that the illnesses I suffer from (especially the social anxiety) prevent me from being me when I’m around other people. It forces me into becoming an obscenely quiet (borderline mute) individual who’ll sit there like an imbecile until someone says something to him, at which point he’ll mumble something incoherently and return to his stoic stupor when the attention is (thankfully) off him.
When I’m around other people, I’m just the ‘overweight’, ‘fugly’ guy who has no friends and nothing intelligible to say.
No-one witnesses my passions, my complication, my intricacies. They don’t see the random awesomeness that lurks beneath the surface because – whether a result of illness or trauma – I’m too terrified to let anyone see the ‘real’ Addy.
Certainly, there are times throughout this blog where my real self has shone through, and even the odd occasion when I’ve been able to show this to the world, but they are in no way as frequent or noticeable as I would like.
Perhaps one day I’ll find a coping strategy that manages my negative self-view and lack of confidence, because this is far and away the worst thing in regard to my mental illness.