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How It Feels To Have A Mental Illness

4270657583_d9b8b48b24Every mental illness is different. But there’s more similarities than differences, truth be told. We’re all outsiders. All of us are fighting for respect.

And all of us are fighting ourselves.

Here’s some feelings I think we all have:

Social Anxiety: Do people think I’m weird? Can they tell? Am I supposed to let my friends know I have this? And when? What do I talk about with someone who doesn’t understand me?

My life is so different from theirs.


Paranoia: I know people think I’m weird. When are they going to leave me? What happens when they find out what I’m REALLY like? Can I even trust myself?

Is my perception of the world accurate or is it colored by my mental illness?


Obsessiveness: I look weird, don’t I? This thing I wrote makes me look nuts. How often do I look nuts? What am I supposed to do about it? I’m so far behind other people. I’m gonna be embarrassingly old when I’m able to do what I want to do. Will I be too old by then to be successful? Can I ever be successful with this?

Will my life ever be normal?


Isolation: I can’t relate to people. I’m too crazy. I must be creeping them out. I have to be alone right now. Otherwise I’m gonna flip out. People don’t know how to deal with me.

And I’m forgetting how to deal with them.


Depression: I am different from other people. I always will be. I will always have this. My life would be so, so much better without it.

And there’s nothing I can ever do to change that.


Camaraderie: Wow. These people are nuts. Is that what I look like? Of course it is. I’m nuts too. This is who will accept me. These are my people.

It’s just us against the world, baby.


Mood Swings: I did great today! Maybe things are looking up! Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be almost normal! I can do this.

Wait….I failed. This is awful. I will never amount to anything. Ever.


Risky Behavior: Maybe if I drink this/snort that/fuck him I can forget for a while that I’m such a massive fuck-up. I’m having fun.

For this couple of hours right now, I’m normal.


Loss Of Control: When am I going to flip out again? Are those pills worth the side effects? Do I need this much help just to function?

I can’t control myself. I can’t control how people see me. I have less options than other people.

My life is run by my illness. It isn’t really mine.

This isn’t really me.

How It Feels To Have A Mental Illness

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2016). How It Feels To Have A Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Mar 2016
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