For anyone who has had to “PROVE” their mental illness

When it comes to work, social environments or even officials like your GP, we are always having to show evidence of our mental illness. The problem being, that there is not always physical evidence that comes along with it. Feeling like you constantly have to prove your invisible illness is incredibly invalidating, not only to you, but also to other people who share the same problem. No one has the right to tell you how you feel and only a mental health professional can diagnose you. Not only that, but often diagnoses can be incorrect or different depending on the doctor.

I’ve had people tell me I’m lazy or not trying hard enough, when they have no idea of my struggles. It can lead to making me feel like that IS the case. These words can be incredibly detrimental and harming to someone that is already struggling.

The problem here is often that people are ignorant of how mental illness can manifest, if you are not suffering constantly or if you are not showing symptoms, that people associate with the illness, then you can be seen as faking or attention seeking.

Not only is this stigmatising it can create problems for the ย person suffering. It is simply not good enough. We need to take people at their word and help them when they need it. Not question if they’re being genuine.

Below are examples of just having to prove disability on the internet:

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I felt like I needed to share some humour with the world

โ€‹โ€‹Just FYI, that ‘glow’ is sweat because I just came back from the gym ๐Ÿ˜‚โ€‹

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What is stigma really?

Ever since I started having mental health issues I seem to struggle with having friends. When it first started I found people getting angry with me that I couldn’t meet up with them or I wasn’t contacting everyone enough, but instead of them asking what was up they stopped putting in any effort. When I dropped out of college and didn’t get to see my friends everyday it really affected me and rarely did I ever hear from anyone or get invited to anything anymore. I guess out of sight out of mind. While everyone else moved on to university and I stayed trying to complete sixth form I felt so alone. I guess starting a new school is hard and moving away makes it difficult to keep in contact but I didn’t have anyone around to keep my spirits up.

When I couldn’t work because of my depression I didn’t have any friends anymore. I clung to every relationship I could find because having someone that’s bad for you is better than having no one right? As humans we need contact and friendship and people around us that cheer us on. I have endless love for the people that have stayed in my life despite the fact that my depression made me isolate myself, and not blaming me for cancelling plans at the last minute, or not being upset at me for not contacting them in a while. So many people didn’t know how to talk to me anymore. Instead of asking what I was going through rumours circulated about what was really going on. People seemed scared to be around me and it became awkward. This is what stigma is. It’s being made to feel like you’re the problem because other people don’t understand or take the time to try and understand. I would have been really grateful if I felt people were trying to include me despite not having me around. Just a meet up, just a coffee, just a text or a phonecall.

Now I’ve learned to explain to people what’s going on with me without being asked. I initiate seeing people and I’m not afraid if people get mad at me anymore, because I know I’m not cancelling my plans on purpose. I have an illness that I’m no longer scared to talk about, and if people can’t deal with it then that’s their problem not mine.

Preparing for the new year

  • One good thing to start with when preparing for the new year is to put old things to
    bed. Got any gifts you haven’t sent? Any bills you haven’tย paid? I’ve sent packages that needed sending, caught up with everyone that I need to.
  • Get prepared for being organised. I’veย ordered this new years planner and I’veย vowed not to be ambitious with it. I’ve gone for a cheaper option because I also want to work on my finances.Start using this method a few days before so you can get used to it and tweak.
  • Set your goals for the next year and be realistic. For example, I want to start making my food more often but if I can’t do that then I won’t feel too bad about it.
  • Don’t set too many goals at once. Remember you can add goals to work on throughout the year too! You don’tย want to overwhelm yourself.
  • Practice my spirituality. I plan on setting intentions for the new year and bottling it with herbs to remind myself and encourage my goals.

 

planner

 

This year I plan to:

-Take my written driving test

-Take my practical driving test

-Start and finish my second module of Uni

-Have an online article published

-Publish my own poetry book

-Sell and create more candles

-Spend less

-Make food more

-Spend the year single