Which one of these photos portrays mental illness best?
They are all me. The same person. With the same diagnosis.
I wanted to do this blog post to prove a point on something that I’m very passionate about and that is Mental illness does not have a face.
People CAN be suicidal and functional, no one have clue and them “suddenly” end their lives. We only have to take some of the celebrities that have ended their life and how functional and successful they were to see that. But still mental illness has this stigma.
I often get told I don’t “look/seem like I have a Mental illness” I’ve even had difficulty getting the help I need because of this. I dress nicely (in my millions of slogan sweaters that I clearly have an obsession for) , I wear make up – even when I’m depressed.
The only time I don’t is when I’ve been seriously unwell at crisis point or I have a sickness bug. That’s because it’s me and I like to feel like me and make the effort as it make a me feel better inside. It doesn’t mean I may not be struggling.
The photos above –
1. I was having a good day / week
2. I was actually feeling quite shitty with an IBS flare up and low mood.
3. I was having a really shit time and extremely down with mental and physical health
4. I was not very well with gastro flare ups and feeling rather flat.
They were all taken within 1 month.
My bad times are restricted to my house with my fiance. No one sees them. That doesn’t mean They are not there.
I am very open about talking about mental illness and my own journey and I’m open with the fact I have bipolar but I think sometimes we see people doing things, being “inspirational” and think how good it must be to be “recovered” like that but we forget we only see a small snippet of their lives – that’s important to remember for our own sanity to remind us that actually we aren’t failing at life!
The fact is recovery means different things to different people, peoppe present differently, some are more functional than others and some are more vocal than others.
That doesn’t mean that when the shadows come around they don’t smother us the same.
So I wanted to put this out there as a reminder that just because you see things, look at what other people are doing and think you will never get there or feel like a failure – this isn’t true and the truth is you may be closer than you think.
It’s important to remember everyone Is different. Don’t assume someones okay by how they present. There’s so much more to it than that.
Professionals need to remember this also as so many get missed because of this very assumption.
Those four faces technically all represent mental illness because the diagnosis and struggles are the same in all just to greater or lesser degrees and this means this goes for other faces too.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s so important to realise this is the case with people too when relating to others and also the way we relate to ourselves ♡