Mental Illness – How it Affects Everyone

Mental illness; one of many things in life that makes little sense but is incredibly real.

Although many diagnoses have a set definition, and characteristics that most patients are grouped under, everyone will experience a given illness differently.

People that are affected by mental illness are widely misunderstood, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes because symptoms vary, it is hard to pinpoint what is you, and what is the darkness taking over you. Sometimes, the people that you confide in just do not and will not understand you. It’s not for lack of available information though; most times it’s just ignorance.

It doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed, however. It affects everyone around them. Whether or not someone feels comfortable enough to disclose their diagnosis can impact how the people around them interpret their behaviour, and reflects how they will react to potential changes in mood. Sometimes unpredictable behaviours are very off-putting and can sabotage relationships with others. It is very challenging to watch someone you know and love, change into some erratic, ill-tempered shell of what they once were.

It is hard also, however, for the person going through these unexplainable feelings. It is impossible to go through these changes that nobody, not even you, understand. Before diagnosis, everything is so confusing. So many questions are raised, self-loathing increases and constant fatigue occurs.

For me, I was persistently irritated by the fact that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t normal and I couldn’t be classified as normal anymore. That took my power away, especially in the moments that I couldn’t control the ways I would think or act. Whenever I had a moment of clarity, I was so ashamed and embarrassed by the ways I had acted out. I used to tell myself that I would never use my mental illness as an “excuse” for my behaviour. This is something I still stand by, but it creates a lot of added pressure on myself. It also makes it impossible to apologize, because I can’t mention my illness in playing a key role in my behaviours, and everything falls on my shoulders. It also makes people see me differently, making them believe that it’s a personality flaw. They can’t see it as something my brain has concocted to sabotage my relationships and ultimately push me into isolation.

It doesn’t have to be impossible and lonely though, there are so many ways to ease the pain. Surround yourself with people you love, and that love you (with no conditions or expectations), and make an effort to get better, believe that things don’t have to always be so dismal (more important than you might think). Fill your life with passion, actively try and find out what makes you happiest and pursue it!

Never stop fighting. For yourself, or your loved ones suffering.

Everyone is worth it, I promise you.

xoxo,

Kate

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