All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Day 18: What do you wish people would understand in regards to mental illness?

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The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge continues, with
Day 18:  What do you wish people would understand in regards to mental illness?

For many years I was too scared to speak out of my mental illness. I hid it from family, from friends and from partners. I believed people would treat me differently; that they would label me ‘crazy’, ‘a nutcase’ or worse. I believed people would be scared of me; that they would only see the darkness lurking inside me; that they would not see the hidden strengths I knew were there.

When the full extent of my mental illness was revealed – without my consent – people were scared; they didn’t know how to act around me, they didn’t understand what was happening to me, and they did treat me differently; I was no longer ‘Andrew’, I was ‘the weak guy who’d had a breakdown’.

I was defined by my mental illness in the same way that some people are defined by their sexuality, skin colour or gender.

By the time I came to understand what was happening to me, it was too late to do anything. All I knew was that my illnesses – my breakdown – were not the sum total of who I was; I was so much more.

The one thing I wish people would understand in regards to mental illness is the same as one of my primary reasons for establishing this blog nearly six years ago: a mental illness does not define who a person is, they are so much more than the labels that have been applied to them.

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One thought on “Day 18: What do you wish people would understand in regards to mental illness?

  1. Pingback: 30 MIAC: Day 18 Round Up/Results | Marci, Mental Health, & More

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