Do People With Mental Illnesses Function Normally?

I never really learned how to just like something, I always let it consume me.


This is a question that gets asked a lot, and people assume that if you can function “normally” then you don’t have a mental illness. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people, myself included, have become so used to hiding their mental issues to the point where when out in society they appear to be functioning normally. I’ve got my anxiety under control enough that it isn’t always visible, though that technique failed last week but that’s a long story. I’ve managed to get my depression under control to the point where I’m not always dwelling on it. For me, my mental issues become most noticeable when I’m extremely close to someone and I feel I can let my guard down and let it all out.

I’ve known many people with mental health problems that, to the typical person, would seem to be functioning perfectly normally. But what happens behind closed doors we can never truly know. I believe we all have two faces. The face we show the world outside our sanctuary, and the face we rarely let out unless we’re alone or with someone we trust wholeheartedly.

It isn’t always as simple as that however, some people do not function in a way that would be considered “normal” – and this is the behaviour that gets stereotyped with mental illness and unless you behave in a way that’s less than “normal” you don’t have a problem. Why is it that when we have something wrong with every organ other than the brain we get sympathy, but with the brain people judge us and place labels upon us and make assumptions?

The truth is that with combinations of therapy, medication and proper support most people with mental illnesses can function in a way that society would see as “normal” and can have healthy relationships and contribute to society meaningfully. But it doesn’t mean they’re completely fine, anything could still be going on in that head of theres. Anything could be going on when they get home at the end of the day.

We need to move away from the judgemental society we’ve found ourselves in and we need to aim for sympathy with mental health. We need to put more policies in place to assist those with mental illness, particularly when the mental illness begins impacting drastically on their life. We need to fund the NHS mental health services more than we already are, giving them the ability to provide better support to more people without all of the waiting lists.

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