For the most part it's been rewarding. After some time and education, most of my family and friends are very understanding, know how to avoid my triggers and are aware that I'm not always able to be fully functional.
Today, as I was going to treatment at the psychiatric hospital in my city, a stranger made a comment that really got to me.
I was the only one to get off the bus at the bus stop by the hospital, and an older woman turned to her friend and said:
"She looks normal, I wonder what's wrong with her"Not only was this rude, she said it loud enough so that the entire bus could hear her, and stare at me walk towards the hospital.
I wanted to turn around and yell something. The number of assumptions she had just made were ridiculous.
What struck me the most was my temptation to pretend that I worked at the hospital, and that I wasn't a patient. I'm usually not embarrassed or ashamed of my illness. But this complete stranger's ignorance made me feel that way.
Here are some reminders:
The same way that those who struggle from physical illnesses don't always have visible symptoms, those who struggle from mental illnesses also don't always have visible symptoms.
Struggling from a mental illness does not mean that anything is wrong with you. It means that you're sick.
There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of your illness.
Assumptions that strangers may make about you change nothing about how wonderful of a person you are.
I managed to pull myself together and have a very successful treatment session.
I know that not everyone understands mental illnesses, and that a lot of work still needs to be dome to eliminate the stigma. But I've gotten to a point where I have eliminated those who judge me because of my mental illness from my life. So when someone says something like that, it takes my surprise.