You Don't Have A Mental Illness! It's All in Your Head!

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. . .

Often people believe that mental illness does not exist because they cannot see it.Fact or Fallacy: Is Mental Illness All In Our Head?

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.

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2013, July 4). You Don't Have A Mental Illness! It's All in Your Head!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 29 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

Laura Jenson
November, 14 2013 at 4:43 am

I fully relate. And family is still lost as am I. I have PTSD. If is related to my childhood and followed me here. I tried for SSD because of a counselor. My first hearing the judge said my problem was I was fat, somehow doing meditations I am practicing something sadistic ? Second hearing I had a panic attack because I didn't understand what the judge wanted, I was made to leave the room and my judgement was people like me are the problem with the economy. I ended it and I am not asking for any help but with my medication now. And that is about impossible because the doctors don't listen when I say I am passing out because of it. My mother had schizophrenia and know stigmatization, and I am still watching it. I'm far from stupid, actually I am quite intelligent. But only in the areas of camping, plant identification and wild foods. I am very comfortable as far into the mountains as I can get with no people. But because of side affects from the medicine that is taken from me. I have white water rafted and hiked mountains. I know my own body and I wouldn"t be here at home if nothing was wrong. I just want to give a heads up for anyone that is"t a veteran trying to apply for any social security benefits be careful. The system is not set up yet for a person with a mental problem. There is too much stigmatization yet for even a judge to have any understanding or compassion on how to deal with a person with a mental problem asking for help. They don't understand and don't care, it is sickening but nothing we can do about it but stay home and hidden. Like they said above, "PRISON"

Sheryl Gregg
July, 8 2013 at 11:04 am

My experience is my immediate family does not understand in 18 years. They expect me to be the same person I was pre-bipolar. It is hard work but I have to use each event as a chance to teach them. I think they cannot believe such a strong force is now whispers and at times, no blowing. I am glad to be alive and my therapist has me doing affirmations daily. I like your post. Many of us can relate to it.

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