What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

A couple of weeks ago I hit an extremely low point—one of the lowest of my life. The next morning I woke up early to make sure I had enough time to curl my hair and put on makeup. I think part of it was wanting to feel like I still had control over something in my life, even if it was just the way I looked. However, even though I looked like this:

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inside I felt like this: hopeless, depressed, sad, alone, empty, hollow, sick, dead.

Several times in my life I’ve been surprised to learn someone has mental illness because on the outside they appear fine, put together, happy even. We live in this society of fronts. For some reason we are raised to believe we have to put up a front for people no matter how we really feel or what we’re going through. It often becomes automatic to smile and tell people you are good even when you are not. That’s one of the most difficult parts of mental illness. It’s a disease you can’t see.

The other thing people should know is that there are moments of good and happiness. Sometimes my smile is real because I’m happy to be around you or I laugh because I really do find what you said to be funny. But those are moments in the midst of the whole story. And the whole story is that I still have mental illness. Depression, anxiety and OCD are still my constant companions. It isn’t like a broken arm that can be casted and healed in a few weeks.

Of course there are things that can help. I’ve written about those things a lot already so I’m not going to go into it again right now. I guess I just wanted to make people aware that mental illness isn’t always something you can see. That doesn’t mean it’s not real or that it’s not there. It is.

7 thoughts on “What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

  1. You are braver than me for explaining all that. I’m always here if you need somebody to talk to or whatever. Hmmm … hopefully OCD doesn’t mean Organized Crime Division?? Take care, xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Organized Crime Division. That’s funny, Roger. Thanks for you comment. A few people lately have told me I’m brave, and I’ve thought, “Either brave or stupid. I think there’s a fine line between the two.”

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      • I have been tempted to start an anonymous blog myself but i have so many problems to talk about i just wouldn’t have the time to write about it all. I still say you are brave.

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      • Well, if you can help or make a difference to even one person, it is all worth it. And the important thing I am finding is to remember the blessings. That doesn’t make the hard things go away. For me, it doesn’t even make them easier to bear, necessarily, but it does bring some peace and comfort and helps me to carry on.

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