Does Mental Illness = Weakness?

This weekend was very difficult for me. My mental illness had me in its grip tight which kept me in bed for Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and about 75 percent of Sunday.

My boyfriend and I were butting heads which really made me anxious. I was having so many worries because of our argument that it made things worse.

He is a very introverted person so sometimes he needs an entire day to re-energize. He told me that he needed alone time this weekend to recharge and spend time with his friends who he doesn’t see very often. In true Megan fashion, I freaked out.

I plunged into my anxious thoughts so deeply that I thought I might get sick. I worried fervently about whether this was the end of our relationship. Whether he didn’t love me anymore. Whether he wanted to find somebody better than me who could meet every single need of his without fail.

My mental illness often makes me feel weak. That if I didn’t have these nagging thoughts that led me to staying in bed for hours, flipping out over a change of plans and crying a lot.

I feel like I should be stronger.

That I should be able to tackle my mental illness to the ground because I don’t fall for its bullshit anymore. That I should be able to rebound quickly or just stand strong after my intense sensitivity teams up with my anxiety to spiral me down into the arms of depression.

If I was stronger I wouldn’t lose an entire weekend because my feelings are hurt and my anxiety is making it 50 times worse.

But I can’t do those things.

I am too weak to overcome my mental illness.

I always ask for your opinion at the end so please leave me a comment! Does your mental illness make you feel weak too?

49 thoughts on “Does Mental Illness = Weakness?

  1. Of course it does, and my husband is both a support and a trigger. We need other people, but need to organically grow that relationship so we can depend on the other people AND be able to communicate hurt and ask for what we need (and vice versa).

    We’re not at some ‘happily ever after’ point, even knowing that, but we are at a much better place than we were a year ago. We’ve been doing marriage counseling and trying to follow the methods and exercises that counselor has taught us.

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  2. Truthfully, I have felt this way so many times. It seems like you have a really good relationship from what I’ve read, have you tried talking to him about this all? Maybe schedule a little sit down face-to-face time (personally, I’d write everything down first that I want to make sure I say), and just talk about when he needs his time, it is understandable, but just maybe add a little reassurance because it can tailspin your anxiety. Don’t forget to add in the good things he does, too. I’ve found that those open and honest conversations can really go the extra mile.

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    • Thank you for the advice, Autumn! I think that’s definitely what needs to happen. I like the idea of writing everything down, I can get my point across better in writing than when I’m talking. I think there could be a simple solution that can work for us both.

      I always enjoy hearing from you 🙂

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  3. Yes, it absolutely can. But like I just said to another blogger, you have to look for any opening where you can get a leg up on it, and exploit the heck out of it. During the good times I try to make myself as strong and well as possible, so that maybe then the bad times won’t be so bad. 🙂

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  4. I can sympathise with these feelings so much! I spend most of either Friday or Saturday in bed because I’m too mentally exhausted to face moving. You are NOT weak. You are fighting every day without giving up, mentally healthy minds don’t have the struggles that anxious/depressed minds do so for you to still do things whether it be socialise, work or just get out of bed, that is AMAZING. Keep fighting chicken, you’re already winning

    Luna xxx

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    • Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words, Luna! (I love your name too!) That is a good point that us with mental illness have challenges that others don’t have. We have more hurdles to jump over to accomplish the things they don’t think twice about.

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      • You’re very welcome! Unfortunately Luna isn’t my real name as my blog is anonymous but I feel a lot like my namesake who is considered odd and not very well understood. That aside, yes we have to be kinder to ourselves for small achievements as they take so much more to accomplish depending on how we’re feeling! On a bad day, you make it out of bed, CONGRATULATIONS! WELL DONE! On a good day you functioned normally and had a day out, CONGRATULATIONS! Never put yourself down for not working in the same way others do. They might be level 20, to your level 3. You are amazing and are bossing this adulting thing every single day! Keep your chin up, you are ALWAYS enough Xxxx

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      • Giving kindness to others can be so much simpler than giving kindness to ourselves. You’re absolutely right about not comparing myself to others. I have been doing it my whole life so it’s difficult to stop. Thank you so so much! The same goes to you!!

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      • We all do it, but I’m trying to retrain myself to be kinder to me. I have actually started saying aloud to myself “Well Done” when I achieve something as the more I actually hear it, I might start believing it!

        If you ever need someone to listen (and that goes for anyone reading this!) PLEASE know I’m here to listen. There’s nothing worse than believing no-one cares. I care.

        Luna Xxx

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      • That is such a good idea! A little positive self talk can be so impactful.

        Your words warm my heart. The same goes to you! I feel the exact same way xx

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  5. Just in the past few days I have been dealing with this same thing. I have been thinking that maybe nothing is truly wrong with me, maybe I am just weak. Maybe everybody deals with what I deal with and I just need to get over myself and man up. It only makes things worse when we start thinking like this, as it shifts the blame onto us. I know this first-hand. I can only pray that God will help me have the strength I need to get through each day because I am weak. I am not ashamed to admit that. But in Him I am strong. My faith gets me through and that is good enough for me.

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    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one going through this. You’re right, all those thoughts shifts the blame to us when having a mental illness in general isn’t our choice. I hope things start looking up for you, Kevin!

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  6. You need to push against. It is often that you understand rationally, what needs to be done, but emotions tell the different story. The trick is to push with all your might into the rational direction even if you feel anxious while you are doing it. With all mental problems you always still have some choice. When I was depressed it was often: do I force myself now to get-up and put some real clothes on or do I stay in bed. And it was soooooo hard. It was hard just to put myself in the vertical position. The trick is to push in the right direction, to use this small freedom of choice that you have. And you don’t have to feel good while you are doing the right thing. You can continue to feel anxious and cry and be ruminating and insecure while you are working-out or doing chores or doing anything more or less productive. With time it will result in a better state of mind.

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  7. Illness can certainly make us feel weak, but standing up and fighting all that illness throws at us takes a lot of strength, even if the result isn’t always the most desirable one.

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    • It does take a lot of strength to stand up and fight! Some days I’m ready to fight while others I can’t be asked. Always appreciate hearing from you, Ashley!

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  8. YES!! Every single day. There is only one thing I have found that helps me. I close my eyes and put myself back into the hardest situation I was ever in that I beat the odds, when I stood strong and proud, when I won for a change. I tell myself, “Look what you have already done! If you did this, you can get up today and at least get dressed.” Then, as needed, I keep reminding myself, and setting another tiny goal, like load the dishwasher, sort the laundry, whatever. Until I either run out of steam, or things I want to get done. And of course, my Etsy shop is a HUGE motivation to get up every single day. If I’m not making something, taking pictures, or promoting, I’m probably sleeping! Do you have a hobby to throw yourself into while he’s gone? Anything at all to divert your attention?

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  9. It used to make me weak, but not any more. I understand it for what it is and what the triggers are. Historically I would do exactly what you did, probably worse! Now if there is a trigger, I have to absolutely go by the book and then I’m ok until it passes. When I’m feeling strong and ‘normal’ (my normal which is probably slightly an unhinged normal in everyone else’s book) then I can slacken off a little. Rumination is an absolute killer. I don’t know if you’re in the U.K., but the NHS do brilliant cognitive behavioural therapy tips on understanding rumination, what it is and how to stop it. For me, if I allow it to start, within a couple of hours I’m in a massive downward spiral and bed, or under the bed with a twin pack of biscuits is where I’ll be found. As the person above said, having something, anything to divert your attention is key, even if it’s cooking or cleaning out a cupboard … it simply doesn’t matter. Writing helps, writing in a coffee shop is best because you’re engaging with the world. It’s no coincidence that when we’re busy doing stuff, we feel better. Ultimately however, if the relationship is the core of the problem, then maybe look at that too. Golly, I sound like a right old bore! I’m so sorry, I’ll stop rambling now … I just really feel for you and know that there IS a way out of this. I am the living proof. I just wish I knew then what I knew now. Sending a big hug. Katie x

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  10. My mental illness makes me feel very weak. Sometimes though I take a step back and look at what I’ve made it through and I get a sense of feeling strong. It doesn’t happen very often though. Hopefully one day the stigma will be lifted and we won’t feel like society considers mental health problems to be a weakness!

    Liz| http://www.anxietyandliz.com

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    • I hope one day there won’t be a stigma too. It can be so difficult to look back and remember how strong one was in the past. Thank you for your comment, Liz!

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  11. Hi Meg, I think that you are a bipolar warrior and that even warriors need a break sometimes and I don’t call it weakness but an absolute necessity. You will be strong to get back up and conquer life again and with a supportive partner at your side who is willing to fight for you and with you.

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  12. My mental illness makes me physically weak every single day. However, I usually try to find other ways to get around the physical limitations of my mental illness by exercising as much as possible and drinking coffee to maintain a high (for me) energy level. It’s not a perfect system, but it gives me enough energy to fight mentally, which for me is where the real fight is. From what I’ve seen in the comments, you aren’t alone. Mental illness can make us all feel weak – it’s what we do in response to that weakness that counts.

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    • Having so much physical weakness must make it so difficult doing every day things 😦 I’m glad you have found a system to help you through. I am so thankful for this community, I have never felt more understood. Thank you for your words, Nathan!

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  13. I often feel this way and I often remind myself that what I think isn’t true. The struggle between letting things sit is immensely impossible because he will leave a conversation at point A and come back to point A half a hour later. In half a hour I’ve already gone from point A to B, C, D and back to C again. When he returns it’s like I continued the conversation by myself because I kind of did. When I need to talk I need to get it all out. I can’t sit on it. But when I’m forced to, I just repeatedly tell myself that it’s okay and that there’s no reason to believe the lies my mind conjures up.

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  14. Yes it does. In fact it is making me feel weak right now, and for the past few weeks, and taking a toll on my work. I am trying to get a hold.

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    • It sucks that’s you’re also feeling weak. It makes it so difficult when mental health problems can spill out into other facets of life. I hope that you have a support system that can catch you when you fall. If you ever need to talk, feel free to contact me! You are not a burden.

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  15. Your post is very relatable and thank u for sharing, I have felt the same for years, that I am weak and this is how life will be. One thing I constantly say out loud is this so I can truly embrace it and it may help u too: Thoughts are thoughts, not facts.

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    • I’m glad that you could relate to my post! That is exactly what I find so hard to wrap my head around. Just because we think it, doesn’t mean that it’s fact. Thanks Mike Lemons!

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