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…