Living With Mental Illness Doesn't Make You Weak

March 28, 2024 Mahevash Shaikh

Living with mental illness doesn't make you weak. If anything, it requires immense strength to fight a war in your mind, one that nobody can see. It's stigma that reinforces the idea that mental illness makes you weak.

Mental Illness Does Not Make You Weak, But Stigma Persists

It's 2024, yet many people still believe that mental illness is the result of weakness or a character flaw. In fact, there are a variety of wrongly held beliefs when it comes to mental health. For example, one stigma I routinely deal with is related to my age. Whenever I tell people I have depression, I get told off for being "too young to be depressed." In reality, mental illness does not discriminate -- it can affect anyone irrespective of age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other factor you can think of. But I digress. It's high time we rewrite the narrative. 

Mental Illness Doesn't Make You Weak, It Makes You Strong

First off, know that I am not romanticizing mental illness. Irrespective of ignorant popular culture portrayals, there is nothing beautiful about mental illness. If I had a choice, I would always choose good mental health over mental illness. That said, I believe it is crucial to challenge the misconception that those who live with a mental illness are weak.

Living with mental illness requires strength, and there is no one definition of strength. Strength looks like accepting your struggles and asking for help, even though you know you will be judged. Sometimes, strength is speaking your truth even when your voice trembles because the repercussions may be severe. Strength is standing up for yourself and asking for what is yours, like equal access to opportunities. And sometimes, strength is about doing whatever it takes to get through the day. Strength comes in these and many more forms, so how can anyone say that those who live with mental illness are weak? You can have a mental disorder and still be a strong individual. 

Mental Illness Doesn't Make You Weak -- Celebrate Your Unique Strength

Life with mental illness is hard enough without dealing with stigma from people and ourselves. So, if you're living with a mental illness, know this: you are not weak. You are a warrior, fighting battles others may never see or understand. The world may not appreciate your strength, but I do. And honestly, so should you. It's high time we neurodivergent folks celebrate our unique strengths and embrace a culture of empathy, compassion, and inclusivity. Remember, mental strength and mental illness are not mutually exclusive. Those of us with mental illness have to work harder to function in a world built for the able-minded and able-bodied. If that doesn't make us strong, what does? 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2024, March 28). Living With Mental Illness Doesn't Make You Weak, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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