Have You Ever Lied About Having a Mental Illness?
Have you ever made up a white lie or two to cover up a gaping hole in your resume where a psychiatric hospitalization was considered to be your primary employment?
Have you ever told acquaintances that your fascination with mental health was born due to ‘some close personal friends and family members who have struggled?’
Have you ever lied about having a mental illness?
My Entire Life Was a Lie
I used to do it on a regular basis. My entire life was a lie. I went through college without telling one single person that I was once hospitalized for psychosis, as well as for a suicide attempt and a few months for a major depressive episode. I guess I wanted to be in the field before I came clean about my personal struggles with mental illness.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I work as a mental health and addictions counsellor so it isn’t all that surprising that I have suffered myself. My clients almost expect that I have and I am also granted the opportunity to be completely open and honest with my supervisors about my past. But, as I said, I’m one of the lucky ones.
If I was interviewing for a job as a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor or a salesman, there would have had to be a much more tumultuous inner debate before coming forth with the truth of my past.
The Tumultuous Inner Debate
If I was a cancer survivor, I don’t think I would have any problem telling a potential employer that I had fought and battled and won against cancer. If I suffered from diabetes, I doubt I would feel any anxiety prior to telling a potential employer about my condition.
But I suffer(ed) from mental illness. It’s just not something that you can bring up in a job interview.
I think we can change that.
Depression is referred to as the common cold of psychiatry. Think of how many times you hear your friends talking about their cold symptoms. How many times do you hear your friends talking about their symptoms of depression?
Let's Normalize Mental Illness
Let’s change that. One person at a time. When you feel alone and that no one in the world could possibly understand; try someone. When you sense the paranoia enveloping you from within; talk about it. When you can’t comprehend your own moods that are spiralling out of control from manic to depressed, let someone know.
The more everyone hears about it, the more normal it becomes.
Remember when the AIDS epidemic began? Although there is still a lot of work to be done, the last ten years have been monumental in the reduction of AIDS related stigma. Let’s do that for mental illness.
Talk. And not just for you.
For all of us.
Curry, C. (2012, May 28). Have You Ever Lied About Having a Mental Illness?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2012/05/have-you-ever-lied-about-having-a-mental-illness
Author: Chris Curry
I find that in my line of work, I need to keep a certain image. I am a RN on an inpatient adolescent psychiatric unit. Those who know my struggles tell me they make me a better caregiver, more understanding and empathetic. But I am still terrified to be labeled as "incompetent" if people are made aware of my mental illness.
I have a mental illness and am trained as a social worker.
I finished uni in April, just before u wrote this post. I paraded myself as a success story, applied for a job in homelessness/MH and was completely honest about my issues. They often employ people 'in recovery' and I thought they would support me.
I relapsed. They have now put me on 'unpaid leave' indefinitely. I now can no longer pay rent and even getting a menial job is proving to be difficult.
I hate them. I experience a lot of violent thoughts (ie. wait outside till the mangers finish... show them what it feels like to be humiliated...)
I am scared, I have no money and my partner can no longer deal with me.
Can u give me some hope?
I wish I could offer you some sort of guidance that would solve your problems, but unfortunately, life is always much more complex than a series of simple answers. I urge you to talk about your violent thoughts with a trained mental health professional and also urge you to please not act on them. It will only make a bad situation much, much worse, for you and anyone else involved.
Keep your head up. I know it's hard now, but if you put your mind to it, things get better.
Prove to yourself that you are that success story that you once paraded yourself as.
All my very best,
I was diagnosed at an early age as bipolar but even then I never opened up about any of my issues. They only saw my behavior, I never told them I saw and heard things, that people were following me, that my nieghbor was video taping me, tapping my phones.
I still havnt told a doc about my most darkest secrets. I havnt told my friends or anyone besides my husband and now here I am posting it publicly.
I dealt with it by playing it off...or saying its a character flaw which I tried to fix for years, I can't fix my brain. I cannot be or act normal, the more I try the worse I feel about myself.
Has anyone else been in as much denial as I have been? To the point if a psych asks you if you hear voices and you tell them no while at the same time telling the loud booming voices to shut up in your head? Just writing this I laugh, god its just so ridiculous.
I need to tell people I need to talk to a doc and accept I may have something more than just bipolar, I can barely admit that to myself.
If you have accepted it; that's half the battle of living successfully with mental illness. Now we just have to get the world to accept it.
There is great help available out there and people with major mental illness have proven time and time again that upon finding the right medication, they can fit perfectly into society.
However, keep in mind that everyone at least knows someone with a mental illness, so there is a good chance that they could be more understanding than you may originally assume.
Best of luck to you and I hope that everything works out.