I’m not “too sensitive.” I’m mentally ill.

It hurts when people erase us – our struggles, our scars, our victories, our invisible battles, a part of our lives that shapes us and our paths in ways others will never comprehend.

It hurts when people erase our mental illnesses.

gabriel-762937-unsplashIt’s like being told that everything must be your fault, a result of your flaws and weaknesses and choices; that it’s inconceivable that there is an invisible destiny carved into our bones by genetics and external factors of trauma or tragedy, leaving us learning every day the forever-evolving face of our mental illness and how best to get through the new day.

How many of us have at some point been told that we can be a little “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “too involved” ? How many of us have felt that we’re being told that our pain, our exhaustion, our hopelessness, our control over our minds slipping through our finger tips, are our fault? Our choice, even?

For me, I’ve heard it countless times.

“You need to toughen up.” “You’re too soft for this world.” “You can’t be so sensitive and expect to be treated right.” “You shouldn’t let things affect you this much.”

And in my head, with internal hot tears of anger and hurt at the erasure of my pain, of the war I have battled without complaint or surrender for as long as I can remember, all I can think when I hear that is, “thank you! So! Much! I am cured, of my depression, of my anxiety, and finally, presented with the easy to make and simple choice of “tough” or “sensitive,” I can continue my life with contentment and joy, never again to be pestered by the whisperings of my own mind! Bless you, kind sir!”

miguel-bruna-503098-unsplashI’m a little angry about it, I guess. And I should be. Because, when I’m at rock bottom, at my wits end, my life falling apart, my mind urging me to figuratively hit “quit without saving” on my existence, when I’m crying in the shower and in the elevator and in the moments no one is watching, when my hands are shaking as I desperately count the pills from my doctor and the consequences of absence from work, from relationships, from the world, are knocking on my door demanding that I attend to responsibilities even though I can barely attend to myself –

You telling me I need to “toughen up” and not be “so sensitive,” is erasing my mental illness, and you’re erasing the victories I win every single day with them, and you’re erasing the fact that mental illness is ugly, real, and that I am so so much tougher than you could ever imagine, because I face their hideous faces every morning.

It’s not that we’re “too” anything. It’s called mental illness.

Mine are called Depression and Anxiety. Whatever yours are called, kudos to you for fighting quietly or loudly or neatly or messily. However you win your battles, even on the days you lose, you’re not too sensitive or emotional or self involved or at fault. None of it is your fault. Call it what it is, and don’t let people who don’t understand convince you to agree with the shady voice in your head that tries to convince you it’s all on you, because it’s not, and I hope this is your daily reminder of that.

–  Steph

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12 Replies to “I’m not “too sensitive.” I’m mentally ill.”

  1. Yes!!! Someone told me a few days ago that anxiety is a narrative I tell myself so I have an excuse not to do hard things. I was like “are you serious??” no one sees the stuff I hide… The kindness, the niceness, the bravery. It’s not a narrative. And I do plenty of hard things but maybe it doesn’t look like it. What an over simplification of a huge struggle. Those people get nothing from me. I am thankful they made it easy for me to determine their value in my life which is nothing. I’ll save my words for those who get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This happens all too much in my life and told that I shouldn’t let things get to me or I shouldn’t be affected by this person or I shouldn’t look too far into things I’ve even been told that I’m not that bipolar like why erase mental illness and replace it with their advice

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Bipolar disorder is a real illness..it’s not a figure of speech or some imaginary creation. It can be debilitating and scary; who wants to lose control?

    Thanks for posting this blog. I don’t know that many people that have bipolar disorder or another mental illness. It sure helps to know, that we are not the only ones having a tough time. Bipolar disorder can seriously damage our relationships and work ethic when we do manage our illness with therapy or medicine. I’m on the road to recovery.

    Once again, thanks for posting!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. But, I often think I’m too sensitive to live this existence anyway.

    I’ve been told I’m too needy. But, when someone’s pays attention to me and shows they appreciate me, it makes me feel needed and important. Who doesn’t want to continue feeling that way?

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the post. The lack of validation that my depression and PTSD are real is one of the most frustrating things about it. People don’t realize how strong we really are — the amount of effort it takes sometimes to just get through one day. It’s a strength others not going though it cannot see because on a good day, it appears to them everything is fine — they just can’t comprehend how exhausting it is to maintain.

    Like

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