10+ Misconceptions About Mental Illness Need To Be Cleared Up Right Now

Mental illness is a myriad of conditions that appear in different ways. Moreover, because of the constant misinterpretation of mental illness on social media. Mental illness is often misunderstood.


Therefore, to inspire a more positive discussion on mental illness, here are a few anecdotes to clarify the confusion:

Depression comes with a mask.

I have depression. People don’t believe me because I appear outgoing and gregarious in social situations, but it’s just a large coping mechanism and something I need to do in many cases for client meetings and gatherings and such.

It’s exhausting. I’m drained and many times feel horrible afterward. I wish people knew that just because you appear happy or content on the outside, you can still be the opposite on the inside. Many people with depression go to great lengths to disguise or mask it, which makes it all the more difficult for others to see that there’s something wrong.

– ldn6

The intricacies of Mental health.

Mental Health is a spectrum. It’s extremely unlikely that any one person is 100% Mentally Healthy, and it’s unlikely that they’re the opposite. The  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only about 17% of adults are in a state of “optimal” mental health.

Just because you may have an issue though, doesn’t mean that you’re spiraling and unhealthy. Much like a physical health issue, a single episode isn’t the end of the world. – (Source)

Dispelling the ADHD myth.

ADHD; it DOES exist, and it’s not just about looking at squirrels outside the window.

And we’re not just seeking stimulants. Many of us hate taking medication because it makes us into zombies that can barely function and choose to deal with the symptoms of the condition rather than take Adderall or any other pills. – willflungpoo & Ketrel

Bipolar disorder needs to be understood better.

Usually when you say ‘I’m bipolar’, you get odd responses from either a) the people that think you are this rabid psycho bouncing off the walls one second and is dangerously suicidal literally the next second or b) the people who think “bipolar” is a normal, quirky personality trait. You know the kind: “you’re bipolar? me too! I’m so damn emotional all the time.”

I simply try to explain it to people as best as I can with a metaphor I came up with once: It’s not a balanced, steady rollercoaster of emotions, that most people experience and enjoy. It’s also not a rollercoaster that does 60 loops in a row, derails and explodes onto the ground below. it’s more of a rollercoaster that goes too high up with a bit too much energy and then gives everybody really bad whiplash when they drop to the bottom of the ride over and over until it’s too much.

The metaphor is kinda dumb at not completely accurate, but it just helps people understand better.

– zapsquad

Mental health and crime do not correlate.

Some people have an inherit fear of others who suffer from a Mental Illness. The media over-sensationalizes the effects of Mental Illness to a point where it seems that crimes are only committed by people who suffer from it.

This is completely untrue, as the American Psychological Association found that only 7.5% of crimes are directly related to Mental Illness.

– (Source)

Depression is not an illusion.


“But you don’t have anything to be depressed about, sweetie.”

That’s like saying, ‘But you can’t have asthma! This room is full of air!’

– kernunnos77 & eeyore102

The importance of decreasing stigma.

Mental Health affects everyone. Research estimates that 1 in 5 people experience mental illness in their lives. So even if you aren’t suffering from it, someone you know might be suffering.

This is why it’s so important to decrease a stigma about Mental Health and open up a conversation about it. Everyone will experience the effects of it and the more we are able to understand and communicate about it, the more positive our relationships can be.

– (Source)

Psychologists are really trained professionals.

On the heels of that, it’s important to talk to a medical professional about your mental health instead of just your close family and friends.

Treating Mental Health takes more than just ‘Talking and Listening’ and the techniques that Psychologists use are developed through years of education and training to positively impact their patients.

– (Source)

I think you deserve that rest.

I have severe anxiety. So much so it’s developed into agoraphobia. I stay in my apartment most days, and only really go outside in public accompanied by my safe person. The common misconception is that I’m lazy. I don’t have a life. Because I stay inside all day, most days, and I’m content not leaving. But I do a lot. I draw, I’m learning how to sew, and I try to get out a little more every day but it’s baby steps.

People also think I’m lazy because I sleep a lot. I have regular panic attacks. At least 3 times a day. It’s rather exhausting. My brain feels like it needs rest after having one.

– MetalMaiden420

Misconceptions about Anorexia.

I have anorexia. I think the most common misconception is that it is about being thin. I have honestly never met a person who developed an eating disorder because they wanted to look like some photoshopped model. For us, it’s about perfection and control, it just so happens that thinness is a trait that our society admires, which is why we strive to achieve it. At a certain point, you are intellectually aware that you are not attractive and dying, but this irrational little part of your brain won’t let you eat because you’re still too big. There is no such thing as “small enough”, once the disease takes hold no amount of weight loss can satisfy.

– purpleelephant77

Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness.

For some reason, even with this debilitating stigma that people dealing with Mental Illness face, it’s still seen as weak to look that in the face and say: “I’m going to go to a therapist anyways”. That doesn’t make sense at all.

But for people with Mental Health issues, opening up emotionally is a very trying experience. That’s exactly what happens in therapy, you open up your emotions and face your mind at its worst.

How could that be seen as weak? – (Source)

Yeah, just stop thinking like that.

OCD isn’t about being organized and anal. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing at it’s worst and telling us to “just not have those thoughts” isn’t helpful.

– mycatisawh***

Another great analogy for anxiety.

Anxiety is that unwelcome, creepy stranger at a party that won’t leave you alone.

One thing people don’t get is how debilitating mental illness can be. With anxiety, it isn’t simply just worrying too much about a deadline…that’s stress. Stress is good. Anxiety is bad. Anxiety starts with automatic thoughts that ruminate into something bigger. It’s worrying about things out of your control. I’ve been told more times than I can count to “just quit worrying so much.” I don’t think people realize how much effort I have to put in to getting myself into healthy thought patterns. It is a daily battle to fight off thoughts like “everyone hates me” and “you’ll never amount to anything”, and not let them ruminate to the point where I cancel my day and crawl back into bed. – frazzled_wumbologist

When people think your illness doesn’t even exist.

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Easiest way to explain it is that I’m so good at compartmentalizing, the compartments can’t all access each other (work-me can’t access school-me can’t access home-me). And since people are kind of the sum of their experiences, my different ‘mes’ seem different from one another.

Did you know DID affects from 1-5% of the population? That’s the same as depression, schizophrenia, and a host of better know physical illnesses. Did you know that doctors trained in trauma only find the CATALYST for DID to be controversial? In other words, they know it exists, they just don’t know why only some child abuse survivors end up with it. Most people think the existence of DID is controversial when it really isn’t anymore.

And the really bad part is, abuse is always denied, always minimized. To come out from that scarred, with a mental disorder that was, in essence, thrust upon you by others when you were too young to resist, and to then be denied or minimized….there is a reason only my spouse and my therapist know I have this disorder.

– ThrowawayDIDhardenuf

Maybe people are actually sick?

People who really are suffering from a Mental Illness aren’t faking it for the medication. I can’t understand why this is such a permeating thought. Mental Illness is such a debilitating condition and the stigma is so overbearing that it would be completely undesirable to fake it.

These are real medical conditions that are treated by real medicine and real doctors. Ignoring a broken foot and continuing to walk on it won’t let it heal

– (Source)

Misconceptions about Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline personality disorder does not mean I am an axe-wielding homicidal bunny boiling stalker. Never have been.

Therapy helped massively with my emotion regulation and crisis management skills. Also suffer from depression, so life is a constant juggling act and some days are better than others. I’ve been mean, manipulative and suicidal and I self-harmed. The guilt of the way I acted is what usually drives the depression. Many people make the assumption that all borderliners are evil, usually because of bad experiences.

There are bad people with BPD. But there are also good people who want to change their lives for the better.

– Welshgirlie2

Clearing up more misconceptions about OCD.

I have autism & OCD and as soon as people find out, they start making Sheldon Cooper jokes and asking if my pencils not being aligned perfectly on my desk makes me freak out. OCD does not universally equal being a neat-freak, and autism does not universally equal being a socially stunted outcast.

My desk is a disaster and I can function fine in most social settings, but I can’t drink out of a cup without rinsing it out first(even if it just came out of the dishwasher), I pick my bottom lip till it bleeds, I can’t look people in the eye, I add up number sequences(like totals on receipts) till I’m left with a single digit number and if the number isn’t “good” I get uneasy, and I have horrifying intrusive thoughts that replay in my head for sometimes weeks at a time.

The autism isn’t so bad, but the OCD is really bad. It sucks and I wish I didn’t have it.

– Lydious

No one is immune.

Children can suffer from Mental Health problems too. It’s also not just a product of a bad childhood experience or a bad parent. These things just happen to everyday people.

In the UK, 1 in 5 children have been diagnosed with a Mental Health problem, and 1 in 20 teenagers suffer from depression specifically.

– (Source)

A personal account of the stigma people face.

High Functioning schizophrenic. Being close to 40, I’ve lived with the stigma of not being able to be trusted, that it’s just an overactive imagination & that I have more than one person living inside of me since I was a teenager. But mostly it’s the overactive imagination one that really bothers me.

– iwsnvrhr

Stop saying this please.

Having suffered from both Anxiety and Depression, many times I’ve been told to just “snap out of it”, which obviously isn’t possible. I’m not sure people always realize how debilitating these illnesses can be for people.


Maybe don’t judge people by their medical history?

People with Mental Health concerns can absolutely hold a job. Like we mentioned before, these people aren’t violent or constantly having manic episodes.

In fact, studies have shown that employees with Mental Health issues are just as punctual, motivated, and work at a level on par with or greater than other employees.

– (Source)

Misconceptions about Tourettes.

It really drives me nuts when I say I have Tourettes to someone and they immediately let out a string of swear words.

Yeah no. If you told me you had alcoholism, my immediate reaction wouldn’t be swaying back and forth and slurring my words. Thanks for belittling my issues.

I wish there was more awareness about Tourette’s outside of the Hollywood version of it. It sucks living with constantly twitching, but it sucks telling someone you have it and having them think you have a hilarious malady and making a joke about it. I’m easy going, but for some reason, that really gets under my skin.

– my_Favorite_post

Although, there are some terrible people out there.

PTSD is something that stole certain joys away from me (shooting guns, fireworks, etc.) And it really sucks. To see people fake it and use it to get notoriety and discounts makes me sick to my stomach. I can only trust therapists or doctors with my issues. Not complete strangers.

– nessn12

It’s not the end.

We’ve been talking a lot about the debilitating effects of Mental Illness, but the truth is it’s not a life sentence. People can recover completely from their Mental Illness with the right help and medication.

Some issues aren’t curable, but they are treatable. Again, with proper medication, it’s entirely possible to live a happy and positive life.

– (Source)

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