WHY…..and mental illness

 WHYAnd Mental Illness

        *       Why will we always have to accept that mental illness stigma will exist in our society, and we must continue to remain tight-lipped about this illness.  The outside world cannot fathom to the degree of the stamina, strength and what we have sacrificed in our lives.  Yet, we must live under a veil of secrecy for fear of reprisal in society and especially in the real working world.  Somewhat of a prejudice, for if another major illness was presented, there would be no problem.

 *       Why are we perceived as having a character flaw; what does that have to do with the illness?

 *       Why do people with mental illness, namely bipolar disorder, stop taking their medications when they begin to feel better?  It’s comparable to someone with heart disease, and whose blood pressure is finally under control.  Would he/she then stop taking the heart meds?  This doesn’t make sense.

 *       Why do some psychiatrists think they know everything, yet prove otherwise when we continue to remain unwell for years and years?

 *       Why do people have to lose family and friends over this illness?  We are disregarded and abandoned and forgotten about for no other reason than having an illness.  Name another illness where this would happen.

 *       Why does the loss of self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem take such a beating?

 *       Why does mental illness have to come in second as far as hospital facilities?  In our city, we were housed in an old, tired hospital; the only unit left in the entire hospital until they transferred both psychiatric floors over to the newer hospital.

 *       What other illness has you feeling selfish that you are ill; that it’s your fault and that you brought this on yourself.  You were lazy.  You slept too much, your personality changed and you have no ambition.  Feels as if you must continue to apologize.

 *       Why is that “black hole” so deep and the “light at the top” so out of reach?

 *       Why do people say “she had a nervous breakdown”?  A family member actually said to me I had a “bad case of the nerves”.  Where do nerves enter the picture with mental illness?  I’m confused.

These are just some “WHYS” that I thought of….can you think of some?

Written by:  Me

I’m reposting this article I wrote a few years ago because my questions still haven’t been answered.


21 thoughts on “WHY…..and mental illness

  1. mini2z says:

    I can’t answer why
    But with me it’s been an up and down journey
    My employers tend to look at me & see a person that looks fine
    I hate that I’m sick but look fine and all four of my autoimmune illnesses carry depression with them
    Writing helps


    • cherished79 says:

      Going to work everyday and trying to look ‘fine’ is hellish. Just getting out of bed can be hellish, so kudos to you. When I worked, no one knew of my depression so had to keep it all inside, and smile on the outside. I worked at a call centre collecting overdue accounts, and I was kind (sometimes) on the phone, but as miserable & cranky inside as the people I was phoning who couldn’t pay their bills. Writing is so cathartic and this blog really helped.
      Just think how strong you are, I had to finally quit.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mini2z says:

        The bosses don’t get it, the one says, I’ve only been sick 3 day in 33 years – well good for him but when you’re so exhausted and hurt everywhere you just want sleep


        • cherished79 says:

          So true, people at work will never get it and really don’t want to get it, if you think about it. If they are your supervisor, they are worried about their job and therefore production will be less in their area/department. The company doesn’t empathize, they have to pay out disability insurance. In other words, DON’T GET SICK! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. anxietybug88 says:

    I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer to any of these questions, but the one about those with bipolar disorder not taking their meds really struck me. Marya Hornbacher talks about it in her book Madness: A Bipolar Life, about how she was in a state of mind where she was hypomanic, and she felt like she could take on the world and that she didn’t need her medication. I think it’s about the state of mind you’re in when you decide not to take your medication. I recently did an interview with her for my blog if you’d like to take a look: http://www.journeytoanxietyfree.com/two-coffees-please-my-interview-with-marya-hornbacher-2/
    I provided a link to her website where there’s information about her books and links to buy them, or you could always pick them up at the library. Either way, I highly recommend her work, as it gives incredible insight into mental illness. She also talks quite a bit about stigma.


    • cherished79 says:

      Wonderful post and interview. When I included the meds in my post, my psychiatrist and I discussed this at length as he was so pleased with my progress, and proved that listening to him and taking meds on schedule was so successful. He explained that many of his patients do well, are beginning to have mood stabilization, and then say, “I don’t want to take Lithium, it’s making me fat, too thirsty”, then when he states the consequences, they say, “no I will be ok, I can handle this now”. So what is a pdoc to do? Would a heart patient say that?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Leslie says:

    The part about feeling lazy and having no ambition really resonates with me. I recently had an intensive psychological interview and testing done for disability (and for me and my docs) to see what is really going on in that brain of mine. I was, honestly, hoping that he would tell me that the only thing wrong with me was a serious case of lazy. That I was some great actress that had everyone fooled, except him, and all I had to do was get myself together and get out there. But, that doctor actually found that I was worse then I thought I was. He found the bits that I buried down deep and didn’t want to admit.

    I had always defined myself by my working life. Now that is no longer a possibility for me. Oh, but the guilt! It’s so pervasive! My husband works full time and a lot of overtime to make enough to keep us just above drowning financially. If I were working, he wouldn’t have to work so many extra hours. If my disability would only come through, he wouldn’t have to work so many extra hours. The guilt is my constant companion.

    Thank you for a great article!
    Peace & love


    • cherished79 says:

      The guilt. Yes you have to get over the guilt, and that’s not easy, yet if you think about it….you didn’t ask for this, it’s not your fault and what if this was any other illness, would you think this way? Depression sucks, and I hate it.
      Thanks so much for commenting. 🙂


  4. Internalbasis says:

    A couple of years ago I read a book from Paolo Coelho, called Veronica wants to die…I was really impressed…and I got a lot from this book…I firmly believe that people who takes a stigma to people who has mental illness are suffering from more serious issues…because in life there is no right or wrong there are just different opinions and experiences. And the psychiatrist told something in this book, like “Something is treated valid if most of the people treated it like valid.” And if you are not like this crowd, if you feel and experience in a different way than most of the people, you will eventually get a stigma. Its really sad but true.


    • cherished79 says:

      Thank you for commenting and sharing that. This book sounds interesting and I will look into it. I really experienced mental illness stigma when I returned to work after a long stretch of illness, and found that people’s attitudes in the workplace, didn’t surprise me, yet “woke” me up. Comments made at various times led me to making the decision to keeping my mouth shut the entire time I was employed (6 years). Unfair really, had it been cancer related, people would have rallied around me…..depression though I could have been possibly ostracized. Deb


      • Internalbasis says:

        I think most of the people are not judging on people who has mental illness but they dont know how to behave near them, how to handle this thing so thats why they feel comfortable around them most of the time. One thing I learnt in my 30 years is that what other people think about you is not your business…you just have to concentrate on loving yourself and the rest will follow.


        • cherished79 says:

          You are so correct in society, however, it could have been detrimental in my workplace. I worked in a call centre on the phones all day, had I “lost it” with a customer (as an example) and they knew I had an illness such as depression, how would they have reacted? It’s uncertain, but I just didn’t want to chance it. Also, even the women I had lunch with and were quite close to would say the odd remark. I just didn’t trust them enough to share my experience with mental illness. Now maybe some of them would have been empathetic or could/would have had a different reaction, but some of them had very “loose lips”, and the entire office (huge company) would have known.


  5. cherished79 says:

    James: I sure know the “happy thoughts” and “things will get better”. Wow if only they knew what blackness feels like.

    Trusting is a whole issue in itself.


  6. James Sparrow says:

    Why is it that some people think it is just simply a case of thinking ‘happy thoughts’ and things will just get better for me?

    Seems to be a big one for me, as for telling people well I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD now for 7 years now (had it for longer no doubt) and I am only just beginning to tell people that I think I can trust of my condition, sometimes it bites me in arse sometimes it doesn’t. At least you get to know who your true friends are.. they’re the ones that don’t look at you with pity but rather understanding.


  7. patches says:

    Why is it that people think I can ‘pull myself up by my bootstraps’ or otherwise just magically get better? People wouldn’t say that to something with cancer, or many other illnesses.


  8. cherished79 says:


    Writing for me and it sounds for you cathartic. I have found blogging an excellent ways to express my views and get across my feelings from my experiences dealing with my mental illness. My interviews along the way with people I have met during my many hospital stays are also included here; their views and feelings too.

    You are a special person and please pat yourself on the back for standing up for yourself to other people. Just remember, you have an illness, and you did nothing wrong. Had you had another illness, would you be apologizing or standing in the shadows? You woudn’t feel like that and it wouldn’t be like that.

    Thanks for visiting this blog, and any topics you would like covered, let me know and I will research. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. smffy says:

    I have discovered it is quite possible to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. My recent adventure into blogging has helped me come out of the closet, even though it is published under smffy for now, one day I’ll use my real name. I actually tell people who are speaking badly about the criminally mentally ill that I have it too. They always act ashamed and stutter something about how, at least, I’m taking my medication. It feels good to smash a few smug perceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

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