People Share The Stereotypes About Mental Illness That They Hate Most

People Share The Stereotypes About Mental Illness That They Hate Most
Fernando @cferdophotography on Unsplash

Living with mental illness is incredibly difficult. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020), according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Given that the number is so high, you'd expect the national conversation to have worked out a lot of its kinks–and you'd be right.

But this isn't to say that it's perfect.

Mental health services are in dire need of funding. Additionally, many American citizens find that access to mental health services is out of reach.

And don't get us started on all the stereotypes.

Actually, yes, why don't we get started on those?

People shared their thoughts after Redditor Accident_Gg asked the online community:

"What stereotypes about mental illness piss you off?"

"People are often surprised..."

"I have schizophrenia. Hoooooo boy. People are often surprised when they learn about my condition. But you hold down a job? You live by yourself? How could you possibly have schizophrenia?"


To which this person replied:

"The fact that people ignore that, like everything in life, it's not black or white, there are diferent grades and tonalities."


"It's a rollercoaster..."

"That presenting ‘symptoms’ are consistent. It’s a rollercoaster, a dice roll every day, limited spoons, different triggers."


To which this person replied:

"Absolutely. Some days my anxiety will be almost nonexistent, some will have it just buzzing in the background, and other days it will be so bad I’m hard pressed to go an hour without starting another spiral into panic. Sometimes it’s heavily reliant on issues around me, sometimes I’ll just be on edge for no apparent reason."

"I’ve gone months without serious anxiety episodes, then something happens and I spiral for days, a week, even a month. It doesn’t have to be at a consistent level for me to know I still have anxiety."


"That all people..."

"That all people with mental illness are either crazy or violent."


To which this person replied:

"Agreed. Or when a character is suddenly revealed go be 'crazy' in a thriller as a twist to make them the villain. When its revealed that the character takes medication and the music turns ominous, you know you're in for a ride."


"People with autism..."

"People with autism have magical powers."


To which this person replied:

"Autism in movies: I am able to solve mysteries and know the origin of the universe, autism makes me a genius."

"Autism in me: Wanna talk about light aircraft?"


"It's not like..."

"That you’re 'selfish' if you just want to be alone. It’s not like I’m having a bad day and would rather just isolate. Nah, must be selfish! Drives me nuts."


To which this person replied:

"And yet the minute you ask for support, you're bringing others down with your mood...can't bloody win sometimes."


"I'm not sad all the time."

"That people with depression are sad all the time and never experience joy or that if they look happy, they're faking it. Totally false. I am depressed but I still have moments of happiness. I'm not sad all the time. It's more that my baseline is sad-ish. However, little things can still bring me joy. I'm not faking smiles."


To which this person replied:

"Hell, my depression manifests less as sadness and more as emptiness. Like, I can fill my life cup with color, any color and it will all drain out eventually. Sometimes I have the energy to keep filling the cup and sometimes I just don't."


"If you're depressed..."

"If you're depressed, just open the curtains and let SUNLIGHT in!"


To which this person replied:

"Sunlight has been proven to help with people's moods and mindsets, but it's far from the only influence on whether or not someone's depressed."


"That people with mental illness..."

"That people with mental illness automatically are creative and talented. It’s a weird kind of fetishizing mental illness that seems gross."


To which this person replied:

"I'm kind of envious of people that can harness their mental illness in a way. The tortured genius and all that."

"I can only be creative when I've got my depression under some control. When it's bad I'm totally useless. I can barely get out of bed, can just manage to hold down a job."


"That it can be solved..."

"That it can be solved/cured with medication (yes it can be a tool to help, but it will not 'fix' me)."


To which this person replied:

"Yes, the idea that medication and therapy can and will fix everything. Not quite true, even though one or both can help with something."


As you can see, while the national conversation on mental illness has improved significantly in the last few decades, there is still much work to do!

Have some frustrations of your own? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

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