Thought Catalog

This Is What Mental Illness Actually Is (Because It Secretly Affects So Many People You Know)

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When people think of mental illness they think of someone going into a school or movie theater and shooting people. They think of strait jackets and mental institutions. That’s not mental illness.

Mental illness is inside the seemingly happy girl with a smile on her face. She comes off as normal but she’s far from it.

Mental illness is being afraid of the dark.

Mental illness is being paranoid of letting someone get close to you ever again.

Mental illness is smelling or seeing something familiar to your past and going into panic mode. Shaking, heart pounding so hard it feels like it might explode, not being able to breathe, a million thoughts going through your head but not being able to process a single one.

Mental illness is being afraid to sleep at night. You fall asleep but you’re soon jolting up in bed, drenched in sweat, with tears streaming down your face because you just had a nightmare.

Mental illness is having flashbacks that more often than not make you wish you were dead. They’re so real it’s almost as if you’re reliving your worst nightmare that you had already endured once before.

Mental illness is waking up in the morning wishing you hadn’t because sometimes it’s too hard to pretend like nothing is bothering you.

Mental illness is going to work and/or school every day as if everything is okay and when someone asks if you’re okay, you smile and say you’re just tired.

Mental illness is looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person staring back at you.

Mental illness is feeling fine for days at a time but knowing it won’t last.

Mental illness is knowing there are better days to come so you grit your teeth and deal with it internally.

Mental illness is so much more than just being sad or emotional. It’s a daily struggle many people face but are too afraid to come out and speak the truth about it because they fear burdening others. It’s a disease. We didn’t wake up one day and choose to battle this. It’s an ongoing process of learning how to cope with it every day.

We’re not crazy. We won’t shoot up a movie theater. We don’t need to be restrained in a strait jacket (although sometimes we probably should be.) Give us some slack, we do the best we can with the cards we were dealt. TC mark

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