Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

My inner critic

I’ve written before about the stigma surrounding mental illness and how the mentally ill are perceived, approached and treated differently to the physically ill. I am a strong and vocal believer that this needs to change, that we need to be more open and accepting when it comes to mental illness. I am always open about my problems when I write online, whether here or on social media.

However it was brought home to me today that although I deplore the misconceptions and judgements that are made about those with mental illnesses, I am nonetheless guilty of having an unacceptably unforgiving attitude. Not towards others who are ill but towards myself.

I encourage others to recognise that having a mental illness is nothing to do with mental strength or attitude; yet I despise myself for being weak. I encourage others to be open and yet I am ashamed of my illness. I am honest online but I shrink away from admitting my illness to real life acquaintances. I explain to others that mental illnesses often have a physical cause and yet I berate myself for being unable to just pull myself together.

Why this division? Why can I be kind and supportive towards others and yet so harsh and judgmental about my own illness? Why am I unable to make the same allowances for myself that I make for others? Why do I acknowledge with one breath that mental illness is not my fault, and yet with the next admit my guilt for being so weak?

Any thoughts gratefully received…

Comments on: "My inner critic" (4)

  1. The stigma goes both ways. That is the shortest answer.

  2. mamaduck said:

    It has something to do with wanting to be perfect: the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend, and then being unable to accept that you’re not perfect. No-one is. That perfect person does not exist. Never has, never will. But we cannot accept that we are imperfect so we berate ourselves, beat ourselves up when others around us are telling us how great we are. We don’t see ourselves that way so we hide what we perceive is the truth from those closest to us, afraid that they might not love us if we are found to be less than perfect.

    It’s a hard thing to explain to someone who does not have such ingrained mental patterns. How, no matter how much you reason with yourself, and tell yourself that what you’re feeling is ridiculous, you still feel that way.

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