When people think mental illness, they “see” someone who can’t function in society; someone who cries all the time; someone who is not connected to reality; someone committing (or attempting) suicide. In other words, someone who “acts” mentally ill as is seen by society. In many ways, it’s the same for brain injury. The ongoing outcome is and difficulties as explained away as “everyone does this.” Or “I didn’t notice.” They often don’t see the struggle of just getting through the day. And how exhausting getting out of bed is. The words are dismissing experiences. I quit talking about the brain injury with the exception of three people; two friends and a therapist. They still aren’t told the whole story.
Regarding my ongoing issues of depression, PTSD, and anxiety; I talk to my therapist only. And I can’t tell him everything. The therapist is taking leave for a few months and transferring me to someone else. I don’t want to talk to her. It takes too much effort to get to the point of trust. And thought she’ll just write it off also. I should take the risk. I just not sure I want this. Did I mention that I also hate change?
I’ve been depressed off and on for decades. Sometimes, I felt close to normal. I could smile periodically and enjoy life in a way. No one saw the depression or the PTSD symptoms I did had. There was so much pain under the surface.
I functioned well but the pain was silently under the surface. I “passed” well. People didn’t understand and I stopped talking. I came to think I was normal but I’d see other people who seemed happy and always wondered what I was missing, if anything.
I don’t anymore function well anymore but still have my experiences often written off. Again I don’t talk anymore. It’s just too frustrating. And I’m sick of having it seem as nothing wrong. I’m just exaggerating or malingering.
I don’t know if it’s worse to face the stigma of having a mental illness or being invisible. I’m so tired of having this crap ignored or explained away. Maybe people are trying to make me feel “normal.” But I just feel more and more isolated, alone, and hopeless.
This is a link to an article written by another “Invisible.”