I would bet my prized record collection that if you live with a mental illness you have heard those words. Probably more than once. Probably more times than you care to recall. But stick with me on this one and keep reading. . .
Technically, well, I suppose it is. But if you live with a mental illness you understand–on a deep level–that our lives are often affected by mental illness in many ways–certainly not just ‘in our head.’ We live with side-effects that can disrupt our lives, our physicality, and our productivity.
When somebody tells us that our illness–primarily because they cannot see it–does not exist it’s sort of a slap in the face. They do not know how difficult it is working to recover from mental illness. They do not understand the sacrifices we make, and continue to make, in order to achieve balance.
Kick the Words to the Curb and Focus on Recovery!
Our mental health, good or bad or anywhere in between, affects our lives on a daily basis. And for this reason I argue that it is not all in our head. Even if, technically, it is.
(Side-Note: Technicalities are irritating and better left with your psychiatrist.)
When you encounter people, and you certainly will, who earnestly believe mental illness does not exist and our actions are not affected by it you have options. For example, if you care about this person enough, invest time in educating them on mental health, on your mental health. Or ignore negative comments and the people who state them. If–and sorry for the cliche–ignorance is bliss, well, let them have it.
In the end, focus on your own recovery. Put yourself first. You deserve it. And sometimes people who make negative comments deserve, ummm, some other things I will refrain from detailing.