Expectation: Get to be happy because you don’t realize you are crazy.
Reality: Have to deal with knowing you are crazy and be forever unsure if the information your brain is giving you is sound.
Expectation: Get to live in a mental ward and be coddled forever, don’t have to have responsibilities, get to hook up with cute orderlies [re: Girl Interupted], generally live a sheltered and carefree existence.
Reality: Can’t afford therapy/much less living somewhere coddled full time. Have to deal with having a mental illness on top of all the other responsibilities you have in your life.
Expectation: Get lots of cool pills.
Reality: Feel stupid about having to take a pill everyday for the rest of your life. Have people tell you you are addicted to sedatives because you pop an Ativan when you’re supposed to.
Expectation: Become a cool artist like Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath.
Reality: Feel unable to concentrate on your art or too insecure to show it to anyone.
Expectation: End mental illness after a movie montage of therapy, a makeover and deep realizations.
Reality: Mental illness isn’t in your life to serve a story arc any more than getting the flu.