Misconceptions of Mental Illness | Why Don’t People Understand Mental Disorders

There is a lot of stigma around mental illness. Many people do not seem to understand those that struggle with them. They can be misinformed, especially if they have not experienced it themselves. But, struggling with a mental disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all different and we all deserve respect.

—CHAPTERS—
0:59 – You’re Not ‘Normal’
4:34 – Treated Differently
6:16 – You Don’t Seem or Look Mentally Ill
8:41 – My Experience

—RELATED VIDEOS—
► DID Misconceptions – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSVd-lcgfRU

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This videos is going to be about the misconceptions of mental illness / mental disorders, including my own experience. I honestly do not like those terms, despite the fact that I do use them, because I believe those that struggle with something that is considered abnormal, it’s just a different way of thinking and living, different life views and experiences. What I mean is, someone could be socially impaired, yet they could be gifted in another area. It’s a trade off. You sacrifice something to have something else. That is how I view it. I use those terms though to describe what is considered mental disorders and mental illness according to psychology.

    Let’s discuss why other people often misunderstand those that struggle with mental problems. This also includes people with mental disorders themselves that can be judgmental and critical.


    You’re Not ‘Normal’

    One thing is that people do not understand. They do not get it, cannot relate, and are quick to judge because it is accepted by society to fit into a mold. That is what I believe medication does. Changes our behavior and thinking to be acceptable. But, that’s a completely different topic of discussion. Anyway, when you do not fit into this general mold, people see you as an outcast, differently, not like everyone else. They can citizen and judge you because of how you are. Yet, those that judge do not get why the person is the way that they are.

    Our personality is shaped by our past experiences. So, if you were abandoned and abused as a child, you will grow up with a fear of abandonment and paranoia, thinking everyone will deceive you and leave you. People who don’t have a childhood like this can judge someone who is paranoid and delusional, calling them crazy, insane, because they do not get why the person is like that.

    This doesn’t make any sense to me because we are all different. Each and everyone one of us was raised differently. No two people are exactly alike. Yet, people who criticize think it is easy to change one’s thinking on the spot. Saying, “Don’t think like that. Don’t be paranoid. Stop panicking. Stop obsessing.” While it is true that those things need to be done in order to be comfortable, it’s not so easy to change behavior that has been part of your personality for so long. This requires retraining the subconscious mind. In turn, many people can think a person is faking or seeking attention, or just completely nuts.

    Let’s look at several examples. The first is someone having a psychotic episode. They are talking to hallucinations that seem real to them. They can’t tell the difference. People stare at this individual, thinking they are weird. Perhaps even saying, “They are so dramatic. They need to find a better way to seek attention.” Yet, many do not understand what this behavior is like, what it’s like to experience this and not even know that it’s all made up in your mind. They judge and criticize because they cannot relate and do not understand.

    Secondly, someone with OCD who routinely performs tasks. They do the same thing over and over and over again and cannot stop. The amount of people that will stare would be overwhelming, making them even more anxious and stressed. And, it’s all because those who have never experience it, or understand it, don’t know what it’s like to deal with that.

    Third, let’s take someone with PTSD. They are terrified of a particular location because of something that happened to them there. Other people may say, “Come on, it’ll be fine. What’s wrong with you? Why are you not going?” Yet, those with PTSD are scared of the location because their mind has formed a connection to that area and the traumatic event that occurred there. An association is formed, and if the person returned to that area and couldn’t handle the stress, the events could relive itself and dissociation could occur which could cause many more problems.


    Treated Differently

    Another thing is people treat you differently. People may think you need special help or be cautious around you out of some fear something will happen. What is that about? People can fear someone with a mental disorder, view them as scary and stay away because of their ‘odd’ behavior and beliefs and thinking. Additionally someone may not take the individual seriously and think they are out of their mind crazy.

    As an example, a person commented on a video of mine saying, “This woman has a video about her life with schizophrenia…I have severe doubts about her honesty.” I find this beyond offensive. Is this person implying that schizophrenics are liars and deceptive people? This is something that many people believe. They do not take the person seriously. When you have a mental disorder, they look at you like a joke.

    Those with schizophrenia can be ridiculed by people. People view them as dangerous and stay away, when that is just not the case for everyone. A person experiencing a psychotic episode would be more scared of you over you being scared of them. At least that is how it is for me.

    Another example could be someone with a mood disorder. People could say, “Oh, she’s just moody today. She has bipolar and is out of control.” It’s so awful what people do and say about someone that is different. Judgment and not being treated equally is terrible.


    You Don’t Seem or Look Mentally Ill

    Next, people can criticize someone because they do not fit into the mold of the mental disorder itself. First and foremost, everyone experiences and copes with mental disorders differently. For example, someone with bipolar or schizophrenia could probably relate to many other people with the disorder, but the severity and how they cope with them are very different. No two people with a mental disorder are exactly alike with how they handle it and cope with it.

    On a related note, people can say, “But, you don’t look mentally ill.” While it is true some individuals suffer with certain disorders more than others, and they may appear to be a little off with their appearance and mannerisms, according to what society considers ‘normal’ anyway. But, for the rest of the people who do not look that way and still struggle with the disorders, that statement is irrelevant. As I just said, people with any kind of disorder can struggle with it in various degrees. Just because someone doesn’t look or act like they have a mental disorder, doesn’t mean they do not struggle with something. Sometimes a best friend of someone with a mental illness will never even know about it.

    So, I find this statement completely false. Many times people can discredit your experiences with a disorder because you do not fit the exact criteria or handle it differently, perhaps even better than most people with the disorder. But, this doesn’t mean you do not struggle with it. Only you know what you struggle with no one else ever will.

    I think when many people with mental disorders are criticized for being a fraud and fake, they try to prove themselves to make the person in doubt a believer. However, this is really unnecessary since, if you can take a step back, let it go, and realize that there is no need for proof. That you know what you struggle with and the other person does not, then forget them. No further conversation is needed about the topic.

    I find that by trying to prove yourself, or just simply getting involved in the mess this person has caused you, it greatly intensifies stress. When people would tell me something negative, I use to obsess over it. Now, I am learning to let it go. I don’t look back. I’m done with it and have let it go.


    My Experience

    Now I will discuss my experience with people misunderstanding what I struggle with. The biggest thing I am accused of online is regarding dissociative identity disorder. So many people think I am a total faker and liar. Some people believe the disorder exists, but that I do not have it. Or others just don’t believe it exists at all. Some people were saying how rare the disorder is and it’s just impossible for someone like me, who is aware and can handle it quite well, to experience what I claim. It is impossible in their eyes. The truth is, the disorder is not necessarily rare, but the most severe cases are rare. Cases where severe changes take place, changes that are really not possible to fake, are rare. Uncontrollable.

    I have decided to do a completely separate video on this whole topic as I am done talking about that. I’m not letting that negativity get me down any longer. So, I’m done with it. If you want more info you will need to watch my video I will have dedicated to this and the misconceptions around DID. [DID Misconceptions] Ok, moving on now.

    My family does not understand what I go through. They have said some of my behavior is put on and they do not take me seriously because I have inappropriate smiling and laughter because of being nervous. I could talk about suicide which is nothing to joke about, yet smile and laugh about it, making them not take me seriously. They get mad when I accuse them of doing things they claim to not have done, like mess with my food, poison it and try to kill me, or anything else really.

    Anyway, many people criticize my authenticity. People don’t think it is possible to struggle with what I struggle with. I want to know from people who disagree with me greatly and think I’m a total fraud, so I can hear their side and know why, so I can understand their perspective. But, they can’t even be bothered to elaborate. This makes me think that some people are just out to make others feel bad for no reason whatsoever. I’m not trying to jump to conclusions here, but there certainly are people out there like this.

    Now, a lot of things started to come to me about my past, after I transitioned. I think this is because I was finally ready to go back to my past after I successfully transitioned and escaped from the male person I was. Dissociated from him. And, it brought back a lot of traumatic memories and really affected me, causing me more stress and anxiety, amplifying my pre-existing conditions.

    On a related note, many people have said, “You can’t have ALL these mental disorders.” And, the way I look at it, it makes perfect sense. I am transgender, which is not a mental disorder by the way, because my mind and body developed differently of one another. I had a female brain, yet a male body. It was not a choice, a birth defect, something that occurs in the womb when the brain develops to either a male or a female, yet the body develops differently. So, that explains to myself that I am trans.

    Next, I come from a family that has mental problems. The one side I do not know about has more, but I do not know the extent of it. Perhaps this is where the bipolar and schizophrenia came from. These generally have a hereditary component, so it makes sense to me that this is perhaps where they originated from for me. Next, I was abused, neglected, abandoned as a child. This led me to developing PTSD and unconsciously repressing trauma. I learned to repress a lot of myself, due to also being transgender, which in turn caused me to develop many different sides to myself that those repressed thoughts and emotions could be expressed through.

    And lastly, due to the stress and anxiety of the entire situation, I became obsessive-compulsive to reduce the anxiety. My family and my traumatic past explains why I am the way I am today. And, for someone to criticize that and say, “You are lying, faking, it’s all in your head.” Making fun of the person I am, the person I struggled so hard to finally be and am still pushing through to make my life better, I find that to be extremely disrespectful. Those people do not understand it or get it.

    But, with this disrespect and misunderstanding, I can grow stronger. I become a better person that can look at the negativity as a way to boost my morale. It may get me down in the short term, but in the long-term, it has a profound positive effect on me.

    I think some of the strongest people are those that have suffered greatly. Those that were abused and tormented, and struggle with things only a small fraction of people have to endure. That is what makes all these people strong and I fully support anyone 100% who has endured so much in their life and continues to push through, hoping each day is a sign of improvement. Because that is a sign of strength, not weakness.

    We may be criticized for who we are, how are personality is, but in the end we are such strong people to have to put up with all that and continue fighting through. You are a strong person and don’t let anyone, especially those saying you are wrong, trying to get you down, criticizing you, say otherwise. Because you are strong and you will make it through.

    There is a lot of stigma around mental disorders. But, it is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all different. We each struggle with our own challenges. Acceptance is the only way. Not only acceptance of ourselves and what happens to us, and what we struggle with, but also accepting others. Everyone deserves to be accepted and loved no matter how different they are, or how rude or inconsiderate they are. Everyone deserves respect.

    We all have a need to be accepted, but our personality can get in the way of this and make us hold back ourselves. I use to be like this, but no more. I do not hold back myself any longer. I tell all to the world, total openness. I put myself at risk of being criticized and made fun of, which I am a lot. But, this is all in hopes that one day, humans can learn acceptance of everyone, even those that are the complete opposite of them.

    So, I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    I did this video because I started seeing so many people who were misinformed about mental disorders in general. Things like, “You can only have PTSD if you were in the military.” I would hear this type of thing so much that I decided to address it in two videos. This one and another specifically about DID (dissociative identity disorder).