What Mental Illness Means For Me

I have occasionally been asked to describe what exactly what having a mental illness is like.  Now I don’t get as annoyed with such questions as I used to.  I mean, it is an honest question by people who, for the most part care.  Yet, I am still at a loss to describe my mental illness in a ten to fifteen second sound bite.  I haven’t always been mentally ill, so I can still remember from my childhood and teenage years what it was like not to have to deal with the crippling depression,chronic anxiety, delusions that seem so real (even when I try to convince myself they aren’t), hallucinations that, left unchecked, can be overwhelming by themselves, among other maladies that are associated with paranoid schizoprenia.

The crippling depression can, at times, leave me such that I literally don’t have the motivation to do much of anything.  During the times of depression, I will often alternate between times of intense sadness and intense anger.  I will usually try to isolate myself from physical contact with others during these times.  It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to have the risk of a confrontation with anyone at these times.  I still can communicate with friends, family, counselors, support people, etc. by means of phone, e-mail, etc. but I don’t risk much personal contact with anyone during these times.  I certainly won’t be driving on the road during such episodes.  Far too risky.

Anxiety is another issue.  In my case, anxiety makes it impossible to hold most kinds of work.  I have tried and failed at several types of jobs, ranging from salesman to factory worker to maintenance man to graduate assistant.  I’ve really lost count of how many jobs I’ve held over the years.  I really have a hard time handling fast paced work where the public is involved.  So that alone eliminates many jobs.  The only job I held for longer than one year was a janitorial job where I primarily worked alone, could set my own priorities within limits, and I wasn’t bothered as long as the job was done well and on time.  Another issue about anxiety and mental illness is old fashioned office politics.  I never could figure those out.  Because of my anxiety, along with my paranoia, I often thought my coworkers and bosses were out to nail me.  Throw in depression about the whole deal and it meant for unpleasent work experiences all around.

The depression and anxiety doesn’t just effect my working life.  It also effects whatever social life I have.  My social life anymore consists of a few really close friends, some casual acquaintances, and my family.  I don’t have any friends from my previous jobs as I’ve lost contact with all of them (or wasn’t at the job long enough to make friends).  I haven’t dated in seven years.  The idea of going out on even a casual date scares me bad.  I just don’t know how to bring up the whole ‘I have a mental illness’ without scaring off a potential date.  There are times that complete solitude is overrated.

I have covered only part of what mental illness means to me.  I’ll have to cover the rest in a future post. 

Advertisements

Author: alifeofmentalillness

I write about my experiences with mental illness and life in general. I am also currently under going 'lifestyle changes' (I hate the term 'dieting' as it's sounds so temporary) and have lost 70 pounds since spring 2014. I've put my poetry and novel writing on lower priority since I started losing weight and blogging more seriously.

3 thoughts on “What Mental Illness Means For Me”

  1. I just went to the psychiatrist today… I have been treated inpatient before but that was 8 years ago, and I never had outpatient treatment.

    They diagnosed me with schizophrenia, panic disorder, and PTSD… I didn’t know how to handle the diagnosis but I know I have been feeling this way and want it to stop…

    My social life sucks too… and I mostly just want to either sleep all the time, or go out and walk by myself for long distances.

  2. I’m sorry your life is filled with anxiety, depression, stress and anger on top of the hallucinations. I’m glad you can get up each day and face the challenges and write about them to educate all of us and speak for other mentally ill people who can’t adequately verbalize their experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s