When we talk about mental health we talk about it as if it were an object. We tend to prescribe the label of the object on to the person. We say “I’m bipolar” or “They’re depressed.” We dehumanize the person who has that mental illness by erasing their identity and only seeing the illness.
When we address people we mental disorders, much like other illnesses we need to see the person as who they are and not as what they have. We don’t say “I am cancer,” we say “They have cancer.” Mental illnesses can be debilitating and intrusive. However, they are a part of a person, not the whole person.
Mental illnesses are much more than just a set of symptoms. Mental illnesses, sadly, can dictate your life, how you view your world and how you interact with others. For people with mental illnesses it is hard to sometime do the simplest things because of the extra hurdles they have to go through in their mind.
Understanding the person’s struggle and situation with their particular mental disorder is key to witnessing and validating their existence and experience. They need support, they need to be heard, and they need to be witnessed.
Please enjoy this video from the #inourownwords movement. It focuses on real stories of people with mental illnesses and their genuine reactions to their condition.
Here is the part two to the video above.
If you would like, and feel comfortable sharing your story of mental illness, please comment below.