People Who Suffer From Mental Illness Share What's Been Most Difficult About Their Struggle

People Who Suffer From Mental Illness Share What's Been Most Difficult About Their Struggle
Stormseeker on Unsplash

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm

Mental illness still carries a great deal of public stigma.

Ignorance leads to a lack of empathy for those whose daily lives are impacted by disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar, clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and autism.

Education and empathy are key.

Redditor Seagoated asked:

"What is the most difficult part of suffering from mental illness?"


"The feeling of being a burden to others." ~ 029384756

"This sometimes extends to even feeling like a burden to your therapist as well." ~ Reddit

"That one thing will haunt you."

"It’s always there, where on good days your first thought is that at least I’m not a bother today." ~ PeyroniesCat

"Stuck in this constant cycle of not having the drive to get things done (so you don’t) and then having to play catch up on everything. This can be anything from school work, job, house work, keeping up with family and friends."

"I am always apologizing for my little disappearing acts and eventually there are just no more excuses or jokes you can use to get out of it. I have lost tons of friends because I just ghost everyone…it’s easier to burn that bridge quickly instead of continually apologizing for doing the same thing.

"Additionally, I always think I’m going to kill myself so there is no need to go into work, I’ll just be dead soon…but then I don’t kill myself and still need to work so that’s a big oopsy f'king daisy."

"It all sucks." ~ sippydippylippy

Destroyed Plans

"The wasted potential."

"On my good days I get so much done."

"It's hard not to think about how much I could have accomplished if I always felt like I do on my good days." ~ majorbedhed

"I know what you mean."

"I often feel like I’m not living the life I should be. There’s so much wasted potential because I can’t get my sh*t together long enough to do something about it."

"Like, I like my job and I’m good at it… but at this point I’m just grateful that someone’s willing to employ me and put up with my bullsh*t."

"I’ve got a dual undergrad and a masters degree. I should have done things with that.

"The opportunities were there—I was literally receiving job offers from government departments & private companies, in my country and overseas, while I was doing my masters."

"But then the wheels fell off my life, and I was diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar, and all those doors slammed shut."

"And to be honest, they were already really f'king wobbly through those 7 years of uni, I just hadn’t slowed down enough to notice, and no one who knew me saw me enough to realise something was majorly wrong." ~ FormalMango

"God I feel this so much."

"I went to a good college on a full scholarship in a pre-law program that would have me get my JD after 5 years. I was supposed to study abroad and intern at the UN."

"I was going to prove everyone back home wrong, show them that I am a force to be reckoned with. I’d sue the pants off my school for the constant abuse and discrimination I went through. I’d be successful."

"Then I went through a major trauma, which gave me PTSD and serious depression, made my OCD worse, and a little brain damage (as a treat…)"

"Now I’m here. I work at a pet store."

"I’m slowly working on getting off of SSI. My life is fine, but every time I see my college friends post online, it’s another reminder of how sh*tty my life is." ~ Chihuahua_enthusiast

"Yeah this. I have ADHD and it's pretty much destroyed all the potential I had in life."

"There's so many things that I would have loved to do, or so many opportunities and passions I could have pursued but missed out because my stupid f'king brain won't cooperate and constantly loses all interest in everything."

"And even when something good does happen to me I can't even enjoy it fully because my brain's dopamine response doesn't work properly. It sucks, but I just tell myself that we'll all be dead relatively soon so nothing we do in life really matters in the end... that's the only way I know how to cope with it."

"I just have to continously find short lived, unfulfilling sh*t to keep my brain occupied until I die so I don't fall into a deep depression. Reddit, video games, exercise, sex, porn, internet browsing, etc..."

"Easy dopamine releases that keep me sane while simultaneously controlling my life and preventing me from being happy. I've done my best to stay away from alcohol because I know I'd drink myself to death, its too easy."

"I can't stand when people call this disorder a superpower. It's not, it fucking sucks and my life would be far easier without it." ~ 14thCluelessbird

No Understanding

"The inability to explain it to some people in a way they’ll understand." ~ QTYokoTaro

"It would be such a relief to just go 'look, here it is' like with a flesh wound. They would immediately grasp what is wrong and would be able to sympathise."

"But you look normal, sometimes happy even and have nothing to show to people." ~ golodiac

"In my experience, there's not only a lack of empathy, but outright mocking and contempt at times. A big reason why I keep my mental health issues to myself." ~ tacotruckrevolution

“There’s nothing more isolating than mental illness.” ~ Seagoated

"With OCD, it’s people not understanding how debilitating it can be and that it’s not just 'liking things near and tidy'—and people are so blasé about it too." ~ holly__sophia

"Thank you! I remember there was this trend of people saying 'OMG! I'm so OCD!' when they just like things neat. Me and my Mother have had to deal with that for ages."

"While it can include being overly neat, it's so, SO much more than just that." ~ Squiddy_102

"I have OCD, but the average person would never believe it because I live in a hoarder's hellhole. It runs in my family, and we often joke about 'the good kind' and 'the bad kind'."

"I understand that there is no 'good kind' of OCD, but I wish I had my cousin's version where everything is always spick-and-span and highly organized. Instead, I got 'the bad kind'."

"I don't clean, I just say 'I want to kill myself' out loud, compulsively, 3,000 times a day, and struggle with 'unevenness' like 'one hand knocked the wall, better knock it with the other hand. Nope, that didn't feel the same, better knock them both again'."

"And again. And again. That's not all of it, but you get the idea." ~ TheLaramieReject


"Always wanting to be alone and hating the loneliness." ~ Immediate_Ad4627

"The loneliness I feel around people hits harder than the loneliness I feel in solitude." ~ GookNukem45

"Yep. For me, I see how other people are having fun, are with friends, basically doing anything except being lonely and I want it but there´s a sheet of glass between me and them that won´t break no matter what so even if I engage it still feels like I´m on the outside looking in."

"Also so much worse when someone makes an effort to include me cause it just highlights how unnatural my inclusion is." ~ Good-mood-curiosity

"It's better to be alone than to be around people that make you feel lonely." ~ amadeus2490

Help Is Available

"If you ever need help, then please know that there are many qualified people who would like to help you." [United Kingdom] [Australia]

"There are crisis services worldwide that are trained to provide support. They are designed to give temporary relief from feelings that are overwhelming you and while they are unlikely to fix any underlying problems, can help you get through a tough hour/night/week."

"Chat services are usually available on these sites. In the US, calling 211 or going to their website is a free referral source."

"They have providers who will see you regardless of your ability to pay. Just as you would see a doctor when you are sick, you deserve to take care of your mental health." ~ AskRedditModerators

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

A little empathy could go a long way.

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