A few people have sent questions in relation to one of the challenging parts of mental illness so I thought I would give my two cents. Proving mental illness. It is by far one of the hardest things to "prove". Don't get me wrong, you have nothing to prove to me but society wants proof. The government wants proof. Insurance companies want proof but how the hell does one give proof of mental illness.
All jokes aside, when I was dealing with my insurance company they seriously asked me if I did the following: go grocery shopping, take showers daily or a few times a week, cook for myself, keep up personal hygiene, get outside the house because that was their standard of being perfectly fine. That was their definition that I was fully capable of holding down a 9-5 job with responsibilities, dealing with people, being held in one place for 8 hours a day etc. Let's all have a good laugh at that. There are so many problems with that I don't even know where to begin. Sure I could shower and go grocery shopping but what they failed to realize is how many times I left my cart in a grocery store and ran out because I couldn't be in there any longer. They failed to realize that sometimes no, no I couldn't make it to the grocery store. They failed to realize that I had to plan and prepare for going to the grocery store, making sure I went when it wouldn't be busy, having to think through driving there and going down the aisles. Having to prepare for the dreaded small talk. How sick to my stomach I felt, how much I shaked with fear.
Sure, I got out the house, I went for walks, but what they failed to realize is it's because I could no longer breathe in my own home, I felt the walls collapsing in, I felt the air go still, I felt the suffocation from being in side. I had to get out or I would have lost it.
Sure I could "cook" for myself but do you know how many of those meals consisted of cereal, bread or mac and cheese because I couldn't do anymore. They failed to realize how unhealthy I was because I could barely manage to eat and when I did, I barely had the energy to cook.
Just because I am capable of surviving on a very basic human level does not mean I can work a normal job, it does not mean I am fine, it does not mean my mental illness is under control or "isn't" really there. A lot of people say we use it as an excuse, I wish more than anything that was the case. I wish it was just a case of being lazy but it's not. my mind does not work or function like it use to. I am not capable of being who I use to be and doing what I use to do. I get overwhelmed at home these days, I've cried a lot lately and seem to be sinking into a depressive state. I still shower and eat and get outside but that doesn't mean I don't have a mental illness. That doesn't mean I don't struggle on a daily basis.
Many people questioned whether or not I actually had ptsd because I wasn't a veteran or first responder, I didn't see horrible things that would cause ptsd. It's the stigma against it, that only certain people get it. Well let me tell you, giving birth to Ty, having him born silent into this world was traumatic. Having to bury my son in the ground instead of bringing him home was traumatic. Holding Jacob as he died, in my arms, taking his last few breaths was traumatic, burying him next to Ty was traumatic. The thing about trauma is it happens to so so many, just because we don't see war doesn't mean we aren't deeply traumatized by certain events.
How many people reading this have ever applied for disability due to a mental illness? I know you can relate to all my struggles above. I know you hated, absolutely despised filling out those god damn papers that ask you if you can do so and so, like they are trying to prove you are perfectly fine to work, just because I can wipe my own ass on a daily basis does not mean my mind can hold down a job. I fought so long and hard and in the end I won but they wore me to the ground, they made everything 1 million times worse. People should not be expected to be asked a few simple questions about tasks they can or can not do and have that be the deciding factor to whether or not someone feels you actually have a mental illness for one thing and that you are capable of working a normal 9-5 at an office.
So how does one "prove"mental illness? Do I need to be hospitalized? Do I need to stay in bed all day? Do I need to smell from not taking showers? Do I need to be underweight because I can't "cook"? I mean, where are the standards set? Are they really that low? Isn't it actually a good thing that people with mental illness can actually still function on a very basic human level? Isn't that what we want? Shouldn't that be rewarded? Just because people can do certain things surely does not mean they can do everything.
A lot of us fake it until we make it and in our case we probably never will make it because mental illness does not go away but we still fake it. It by no means we don;t have a problem, it doesn't mean we are't struggling and really back of the "prove that you have a mental illness" shit, it only makes things worse. Can people not see that?
Next time you are talking to someone and they have a mention that they have a mental illness, bite your lip if you feel the urge to say you seem fine. Seriously bite it hard, until it bleeds. Don't ever question someone who says they are struggling and that they have a mental illness, just don't do it. No matter how put together they seem, you don;t know what the rest of their day was like, you don't know how hard it was to get out of bed and get the day started. You don't know how hard it was to drive into town and face people. You don't know if an hour ago they were crying in a Rona parking lot over a closet door because they became too overwhelmed. You don;t know if they haven't slept in weeks, you don't know if their digestive system is failing due to not being able to eat. You don't know i they stayed in bed all day, you don't know if the shower they took was the first in a month. Maybe they shower every day, that doesn't mean they don't have a mental illness, it means they are trying, give them a break they are trying as hard as they can to live and sometimes the struggles are hard and sometimes they are manageable but by no means, don;t ever tell someone to "prove" they have a mental illness. Take heed government, employers and insurance companies, it is a bias against people with mental illness that needs to stop. Don't make someone try to prove something that is almost impossible to prove. Also, don't be that ass that says if you can't prove it you must be fine.
To all the people out there right now being forced to "prove" they have a mental illness, I feel your pain, I've been there on more than one occasion (2 times government 2 times insurance) it's exhausting and hard and emotional destroying, keep fighting, maybe one day the world will recognize it's not something you can prove, if we stand up and voice our concerns, maybe a future generation will have more compassion towards those with mental illness. Just keep fighting for your right. Also know it's okay to give up, sometimes it causes more harm than good (I've been there too) sometimes it just takes too much from a person and it is okay to rid your life of these heavy burdens. Just know you are not alone.