When it comes down to any illness, there is always a misunderstanding from people who haven’t been through it. Sadly, one of the most misunderstood illnesses is mental illness. A lot of people don’t understand that just because someone isn’t physically hurting that they can’t be mentally hurting. Someone may look OK, but that doesn’t mean inside their head they aren’t going insane. Lose the judgement and become more open to mental illness.

You were up all night because you can’t shut your mind off. You are constantly worried about irrational things that make no sense. You are constantly mentally and emotionally exhausted. You lay in bed at night and stare at the ceiling unable to make yourself relax. You wake up in the middle of the night in a panic and you lay there for hours not being able to fall back asleep. But “You don't look sick and you slept all day yesterday. Why aren't you still out of bed?”

People have tried their hardest. Seeked out help, gone to therapy, or maybe have even tried to deal with by themselves. Some of these people feel like failures because they couldn’t control their emotions any longer. They have tried and tried and tried and now they are just tired. They finally decide to do something that could really be a huge leap of faith for them. They decide to go to the doctors and finally get the help they need. Yet people still say, “Anyone who takes pills for mental illness is taking the easy way out.”

Some people decide to try on their own. Others seek out help from professionals. They are using all of their resources to get the help they so desperately need. Sometimes it’s even hard for people to admit they need help, let alone ask for it. They are doing what they emotionally can to get better. Yet some people have the nerve to say “You aren’t trying hard enough to get better.”

You feel so bad because you know deep down that other people have it worse. There will always be someone who has it worse than you. Someone who is homeless, starving, or physically sick. You’re having a bad day. You try to talk to someone, tell them how you are feeling. They feel the need to constantly remind you there are people you have it worse than you. You don’t need to be reminded of this, you know and it makes you feel guilty. You can’t help the way you feel and that kills you on the inside. All you want is for someone to understand, but all you are being told is that “You should stop complaining because there are a lot more people who have it worse than you.”

There are days when you feel like you just can’t get out bed or can’t get off the couch. You try your hardest to leave your house to make yourself feel better but you just can’t gather up the courage. People always ask you when you feel sad why you just sit around, and tell you to try to go out and do something. What they don’t realize is that even the thought of having to leave the house that day sends you into a spiral of panic and anxiety and then you get told “Maybe if you weren’t so lazy you would feel better.”

So many people with mental illness are misunderstood in so many ways. No, they don’t always have a reason to be sad. What is bothering them isn’t always logical. People suffering with mental illness know that. They know that sometimes they are sad for no reason at all. That it could be the best day of their life, yet they can’t put a smile on their face. They know they don’t have any reason to be unhappy, yet they are. They wish they could explain this to people, but sadly not a lot of people understand this. Yet people still feel the need to say “There is nothing wrong with your life, what do you really have to feel sad about?”

People will look at you and think, can’t they just choose to be happy? They don’t realize that it isn’t a choice. You don’t wake up in the morning and decide to be anxious and sad all day long. Too many people think that it’s the state of mind that someone is in that leads them to be this way. They get told to just think of something happy or just stop being miserable. Never, never, should someone look at someone with mental illness and say “You’re doing this to yourself, why can’t you just be happy?” Remember they are trying their hardest to get better, they don’t need to be knocked down.

“It’s a disorder not a decision.” -Unknown