I’m Mentally Ill But Don’t Pity Me

I see you there trying not to stare at me. When I glance at you your eyes quickly dart away. You pass me by and are afraid to say “hello,” out of fear as if what I have may be contagious. When you do make eye contact you search my eyes to see if I am “sane.” You are one of those people who have seen me in my worst moments.

Don’t pity me for life could be so much worse if I lived during the time when the mentally ill were institutionalized. I may have been placed in an ice bath or had a lobotomy. You may have left me restrained for days on end. I could have been deprived of my most basic human needs. In your effort to “treat” me I could have been sprayed with a hose.

You wonder why we fear the mental health system. You wonder why we mistrust and question everything they tell us is good for us. We are vulnerable because we need help, yet often don’t know where to turn.

Don’t pity me for life could be so much worse. We hear the stories about psychiatric institutions closing and we see the remnants of old historic asylums turning into haunted houses. Is there any wonder why? Human suffering cries out from the lonely graves of those who came before us and weathered the storm of archaic psychiatric practices.

Yes the mentally ill have been a persecuted group for hundreds of years. But things have gotten better—haven’t they?

Don’t pity me for life could be so much worse. It’s hard to look at me now that I am mentally ill. I’m not welcome in your group anymore. I don’t fit with your perfect lives for mine is rather messy. But with these words I write I have a voice, I have a chance to make a difference.

Don’t pity me for life could be so much worse. Yet you look at me with such disgust and use my illness to make jokes. I am a human being who happened to inherit a mental illness. Yet I refuse to sit quietly in my chair.

I want you to stand up for me and fight for better treatment. I want you to hold my hand and walk with me in my journey for a good life. I want you to understand my pain and suffering, but take note of me as a survivor. I am not a mere shadow from the past; I am not someone you can just push aside.

Don’t pity me for life could be so much worse. If you don’t do anything just say a little prayer. I am here to fight for a better tomorrow and I am not going away.

Don’t pity me because I believe life can be so much better.


18 thoughts on “I’m Mentally Ill But Don’t Pity Me

  1. Amy- I think the media has continued to paint a picture of these crazy people. The past was horrific for people with mental illness. One of the Kennedy sisters had a lobotomy, it’s terrible to think people who had a illness hade their life taken away from them. The same with movies that include ECT from the past, in the past it was a new technique. As with all technology there are the first people who have the treatment. People still thick you flop around while high electrical voltages where sent thru the brain. That as light years ago. Now you get a short acting anesthesia and a muscle relaxer so you don’t move at all. My other thought is people are afraid and ignorant of what they don’t know and make no effort to learn the truth. I stopped thinking about what people think of me and focus on being in the best health I can. Most important I share difficult events with Bipolar to help the people who want to know. I get comments everyday from people who need to talk to someone who understands what their going thru. The technology of managing mental illness is incredible, so many new treatments without FDA approval. Once approved they are extra tools for doctors to work with. I am 100% in agreement, don’t pity me, I don’t pity myself. Thanks for a great post. 🙂


    1. Hi Looking for the Light,
      I saw the movie when the Kennedy girl, I think her name was Rosemary, was sent away for the lobotomy. It was so sad. They had promised her parents the surgery would make a big improvement, what they got was…well you know. Your comment is right on target. There have been lots of progress and I am really grateful for that…I just want more progress. 🙂 I am so glad you get to reach out and help people everyday. It is very rewarding to offer that peer support. Grateful for your comment my friend. Thank you.


  2. Hey Amy, I’ve stumbled upon something that’s really important to me, and I thought I would share it with you as well in hopes that you too may participate and pass this blessing on to other people like us as well:

    The “You’ve Got This” Campaign for Newly Diagnosed Bipolar patients
    via Healthline:

    This is where people who have Bipolar disorder share their experiences, insights, and everything with those that have just been diagnosed as Bipolar through a video clip.

    Upload your video to YouTube and then fill out the fields below. We’ll review your submission and post it on Healthline.com to share with the community.


    In addition to providing hope, participants should know that Healthline will donate $10 for every video created to the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms
    TWLOHA is a movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, and self-injury.

    http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/youve-got-this Learn more about video submission.

    Maybe we’re onto something here and this could really make a difference in the life of someone whose world has just been turned upside down.

    -God bless


    1. Hi Amanda,
      I have actually seen this campaign. I’m a little camera shy, so I don’t think I’ll participate, but what a good cause. I hope you are able to make a video. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Hi Amy, Hope you’re great today. I’m sending a young lady your way. Her blog is Save the Bipolar Bears. She a college student and just diagnosed. She is less than a week in to taking med for first time. She is using the mood chart to help her see how she is cycling. I told her you where the best blog to go for well researched non-stop info on Bipolar.
    I haven’t written much about my illness yet, my focused is the abuse. She needs some info to help her accept the diagnosed. She is in London and has taken the suggestions and thousand questions I’ve asked in the spirit meant. I hope she will follow you and hopefully reach out. I’m sending her your address. Have a great day.


    1. Hi Looking for the Light,
      I consider your comment a very nice compliment to refer my blog to someone. Thank you. I will look at her blog and follow. It’s a challenging time to get that first diagnosis. I’m sure the mood chart will help. I just started using one myself, thanks to your recommendation. Have a wonderful day!


      1. Hi Amy,
        She’s doing a little better this morning. She young and hasn’t soaked in yet. She sounded positive. She said the mood chart has helped her see how much her mood changes during the day. Take care. 🙂


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