People With Mental Disorders Explain Which Things They Wish People Better Understood About Them

I have depression. It's not overwhelming, and it's not something that I use to define myself, but it's there, and there are times when it hits me, and it's debilitating.

Not everyone understands why I have depression.

They think that because I have a good life with wonderful friends, a great family, a good job, a nice place to live, and no huge problems I have nothing to be sad about. They don't understand that depression isn't just sadness and that having a good or bad life has little bearing on whether you suffer from depression or not.

Depression isn't the only mental disorder that isn't widely understood. Even the way people with mental disorders feel in general aren't widely understood.

Thanks to one Redditor's great question, Redditors with mental disorders shared what they wish people understood about them.

It all started when Redditor demalejo asked:

"People with mental disorders, what would you like people to understand better about your condition?"


"It's tiring. I'm tired all the time. The amount of effort I have to put into being a functional adult is exhausting. Everything is difficult. Nothing is easy or simple. I'm just so so so tired."

– legoclover

"Yo. Right there with you. Living is exhausting. The weight of it just seems heavier and heavier each day. State of the world is NOT helping."

– Redheaded_Loser

Don't Worry, Be Happy

"Extreme existential anxiety. People say, "Well, you can't change anything, anyway, so why worry?" ...THAT'S WHY I'M WORRIED! IF I COULD CHANGE IT THEN I WOULD JUST DO THAT!"

"I'm much better now, but good Lord."

– newyne

"This. Having debilitating anxiety is so f**king tiring. Every time I stop to think about it, I’m just hit with this wave of “wow imagine what I could do if 70% of my energy wasn’t going towards overthinking, panicking, and stressing.”"

– reefered_beans

Take "Quirk" Out Of Your Vocabulary

"OCD isn't a quirk and you wanting your counters nice and neat isn't a symptom. Constant thoughts that I can't stop and cause a lot of distress are the problem. My house is a dang mess and I really don't care. But needing to say goodnight to my pets in a certain order because they might die if I don't is an issue. Also having distressing and disturbing thoughts that pop up randomly such as sexual, violent, or grotesque thoughts that are not my thoughts and don't align with my beliefs or values. It's not quirky. The only thing relatively quirky is when I twitch or shake my head to erase the thought like an etch a sketch"

– polkaspot36

Not Always As Bad As It Sounds

"My official (along with half a dozen other diags) is "Bipolar II, mixed, with psychotic behavior" which made me super uncomfortable at first because, you know... connotation everyone has with the term psychotic. It took me some time to accept that particular part."

"Sometimes they get really bad, but 90% of the time my hallucinations and delusions are pretty mild to the point it took me ages to figure out that's what was going on. Mostly visual and auditory, occasionally other things. For visual, I see things move that don't or aren't there, especially shadows. For the auditory it's usually more muffled like if someone was having a conversation in the other room or left a TV or radio on. TV on in the same room I'm in helps drown out the noises and gives enough of a visual distraction to help.The delusions I can usually recognize on some level that's what they are, but going through them is awful because I can't logic my way out of them and convince myself that's all they are. This awful cycle of "this seems farfetched, it's probably a delusion... but what if it's not? But it doesn't make sense and here's why.... but what if it actually makes PERFECT sense?? Here's everything that backs up this being absolutely 100% real and here's everything that proves what you're saying to disprove it is wrong." Just have to ride them out."

"Medication, nearly two decades of therapy, and a whole massive toolbox of coping mechanisms and I'm okay more often than not. Though it has gotten bad enough in the past to have a rough crisis plan. Figure it's better to plan for a worst case scenario and give trusted people an idea of "this means it's getting bad" and steps I'd like them to take if I can't recognize I'm at that point."

"Another thing I wish people understood about bipolar is it's not really an instant switch in mood but longer term episodes of extreme highs and lows. And that the highs and lows look different than what most people imagine, too, particularly the high/manic episodes. I think depressive episodes are pretty obvious to most people nowadays. But manic is not just lots of energy and feel-good happytimes. It can be incredibly destructive and even dangerous."

– CalamitousCass

Look It Up

"The difference between “psychosis” and “psychopath.” I see and hear things that aren’t there. I don’t have daydreams about putting you in a microwave. Learn the difference."

– Sethrial

It's Not About Focus

"The ADHD brain is physically and chemically different than a "neurotypical" brain. The thing is, without neurodivergencies like ADHD, ASD, etc., advancements in science, technology, even economics and agriculture, would not have evolved to the level we currently have."

"I also want to add, it's BS the way people treat people with ADHD. As prolific as it is, and with all the research and growing understanding, they're still told "if you'd only focus", "you can hold still if you really try", and other crap. ADHD can be disabling and has an effect on every part of someone's life. Quit writing them off."

– MoJoHusband

Everybody Hurts

"That every time I am angry or upset, it’s not “just my [insert relevant mental illness here]”. Sometimes I have every right and reason to be furious or in tears, just like anyone else does, and brushing off my emotions as a symptom is hurtful and damaging."

– frau-fremdschamen

You Can't Help Me!

"That I don't fully understand it myself, but getting advice from a mentally healthy person who has no understanding of it is frustratingly useless."

– TheRichTurner

"Can't tell you how many times peaple were just like "it's common sense you will get it. You just need to keep trying" meanwhile 12 year old me is fantasizing about putting my pencil though the teachers neck because all of the black squiggles on the page don't make sense unless I have a colored filter over them. That she won't let me use because it's "distracting.""

– Hickawa

I Need A Little Time

"Certain folks in my family get so frustrated when I have to call off something because I’m having a bad day mentally. I don’t want to miss Fun Thing either, but I have had this my entire life and I know when I can push through it and when I absolutely cannot. I hate it as much as they do!"

– StargazerNataku

"Absolutely. If I don't show up to something every once in a while, it's for your protection as well as mine. Nobody wants to see me have a mental breakdown because I pushed myself too hard to do something that day."

"Sometimes, having mental health issues means I need to wait for it to pass. I need as little stimulus as possible to have control over myself in those times. This is me, dealing with it, so I can go back to being the person everyone likes."

– OfficeChairHero

There's No Magic Solution

"Taking medication is not some magical fix. I'm still sick."

– m0rgan_jamiie

"Exactly. Going to therapy and doing the work doesn’t mean that my mental health issues are going to magically disappear! I once had someone in my family ask me how long it will take for my anxiety, PTSD, depression etc to “go” away completely since I was on medication and in therapy. It was the most painful conversation I had to have without offending them. I will always have what I’ve been diagnosed with and I’m going to live with them forever, I just know how to manage it well on some days and can’t manage them on other days. Stop expecting me to wake up and be a new person just because I’m in therapy."

– OkTennis2366

Alone Time

"That having my routine broken causes a massive amount of stress and fear so I tend to respond poorly to tense situations because my brain can't connect with others."

"Great that they find stress relief with others, I find it with my video games and I can't take that with me so smoking is how I handle an overwhelming amount of it. Not a great method but it works for now."

– Brontolope11

It's More Than Sadness

"Being depressed is not "Oh, you're just sad.""

"No, it physically hurts on my worst days, and sometimes it's really hard to get out of bed because of it."

"It's also difficult to find something to do some days when mine is bad. I'll literally just sit there and stare at something for a while."

"My son will want to go outside, and I just don't want to because my depression makes it so that I don't feel like doing anything."

"Depression can physically be painful, and it's "not just in your head.""

– StrangerFeelings

It's Not Your Fault

"Parents: ADHD and other disorders are not a negative reflection on you as a parent. You don't have "the bad kid" who gets in trouble all the time. You have a kid with a health condition that makes their life harder that needs diagnosis and treatment. Nobody would think of their kid as an embarrassment for having asthma or poor eyesight or diabetes."

"Get your head out of the sand and your ego out of your kid's health."


We're All Trying To Get Through

"I am trying so hard. So f**king hard. Please just be patient with me."

– raspberrylemonad3

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