This post is a personal piece about some of the things you don’t see with mental illness. Please be trigger aware when reading this piece.
Mental illnesses are, unsurprisingly, not always easy to see. This can be down to a number of reasons. This piece is to look at some of the things people may not realise are linked to mental illness. These are based on my personal experience so they may not cover everything.
- What you don’t see is the loneliness and isolation that mental illness can cause. For me loneliness goes hand in hand with having a mental illness. I have written about it before here. You can be surrounded by people but still feel incredibly lonely. Having a mental illness can exacerbate this as you feel cut off from those closest to you especially if you feel they just don’t understand.
- What you don’t see is the fear of being rejected by those you love. I think this fear can be huge and can also feed into the loneliness. It isn’t always easy to live with someone with a mental illness and we are aware of this. For this reason we can become fearful that those we love might not be able to cope (especially as we don’t always feel able to cope with ourselves so why should we expect others to?) and might leave us. Mostly we are worrying needlessly but sometimes you do lose people due to your mental illnesses so fear of losing more people is real.
- What you don’t see is the tiredness that overwhelms us. Each day is a battle. Some days are easier than others. But battling your brain everyday is exhausting. Mixed together with some of the medications we may have to take this can lead to an overwhelming tiredness. We may have little energy to do everyday activities which may become frustrating for both loved ones and the person suffering. Patience is key here, as well as understanding. We don’t want to be so tired.
- What you don’t see is the voice in our head telling us how awful we are. This may be an actual voice or it could just be overwhelming thoughts. Whichever, it makes life harder having to deal with this negativity on what can be a daily basis. It can feed into the tiredness, loneliness and fears. It can be so isolating to be told how awful you are on a constant loop. This is why we need other people to big us up especially when we feel at our lowest. But it is hard as this can be when we feel like we should be on our own. What we really need is the total opposite. We need people, not necessarily to tell us we can get through this, but just to be there.
This list is nowhere near complete and different people will tell you different things that you cant see but for me these are the main issues. Fear, loneliness and tiredness are all fed by mental illness and are things that are not immediately obvious. Please be aware when talking to someone with a mental illness that what you see might only be the tip of the iceberg. Deep down may be many things you cant see. Please feel free to leave other ideas of things you cant see in the comments.