At first glance, even second glance, even if you have spent hours with the mentally ill, you might think we are weak individuals.
The movies portray us as well, for the most part, as pitiful creatures which lack any sort of fortitude. All around the world, the mentally ill have the stigma of being broken or incomplete characters. This could not be farther from the truth.
We who suffer from mental disorders are stronger than you think, even stronger than those you may see as “normal”. I don’t mean to brag but I have stood strong watching stable-minded relatives crumble at the sight of death. I have kept the home in order as intoxicated family members wreak havoc during the holidays and held my head up high during many bouts of my own depression. I thought I was weak once, but I was wrong. I was, in fact, one of the strongest people I know, simply because I am still breathing.
The reason we’re strong
We can be self-destructive at times. Destruction can come from inside as if our bodies are hosts to some alien creature. Our minds wage war with us, which is much more terrifying than those battles with our physical bodies. We are trapped, locked in some dark embrace which you cannot see.
Imagine always having to fight to stay alive, while your mind whispers, “Kill yourself”. It’s true, and if your mind isn’t saying that, then maybe it’s just trying to shut itself down due to overload. Most of you are fortunate enough to never experience such chaos.
We are strong. Despite our self-destructive capabilities, most of the time, we survive. We have the ability to push through the voices and emotions that wish to kill us. This doesn’t compute as weakness. In fact, this shows an almost superhuman bravery.
If that wasn’t enough, then consider this.
Everything the mentally ill accomplish takes twice or three times the effort than it does for others. The reason it’s so hard to finish tasks, perform duties and do jobs is because mental disorders make the reasoning process much more complicated. What seems like easy instructions for the average person, may seem intimidating for the mentally ill.
Many of us have racing thoughts and an overflow of information unfiled and unorganized. This doesn’t equate to weakness, this means the mentally ill can perform some tasks despite all the obstacles. They have to work harder, think harder and perform longer for the reward. That takes endurance and loads of strength. We have that strength.
One of the most heartbreaking reasons why we are so strong is because we aren’t understood or appreciated. If we were to be physically sick, you would understand, but with a mental illness, there is just so much stigma. Knowing the truth about how the average person feels about us is taxing on our mental state, thus making the illness worse.
Lack of understanding and judgmental actions sometimes make it almost impossible to move ahead. No one, normal people that is, wants to hear about our problems with our disorder – about how we can’t sleep, cannot do any work or simply can’t be around people.
Most people, unfortunately, label us as lazy. Insults and misconceptions hit deep, sometimes triggering depression or suicidal attempts.
IT TAKES STRENGTH TO FORGIVE!
And that’s what it’s about really. We must forgive you for seeing us as monsters. I think that’s one of the strongest attributes we have. I, for one, am tired of being timid and begging for understanding. I’m wearing my strength to show you that we can be strong too. Instead of cowering away absorbing the stones of stigma, we are standing up and utilizing our best days to educate and inform.
The mentally ill are nowhere near weak. Maybe as we learn to deal with our imperfections, we can help others win their full potential as well. Instead of seeing us as weak, maybe you can see us as unique and share the love we so desperately need.
After all, no one is perfect, and we all need each other to make the world a better place.
Help us destroy the stigma!