How do you define mental illness?

Whether you, or someone you know struggles with mental illness, everyone is affected differently and has their own interpretation of what it means to them. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reached out to their Facebook community members living with mental illness to ask how they define their mental illness. This is what some of them said:

“That even in the midst of a great day, a black hole can appear and threaten to swallow me.” ~Susan

“It means working twice as hard to function half as well as others.” ~Nicholas


“It means feeling like you are forever swimming against the tide. Sometimes you find a gentle current where you can enjoy your very existence, only to be overtaken by a horrific undercurrent that makes you fight the water for your very life. Then there are times you’re just too tired to swim and you begin to drown, hoping someone will actually save you, and maybe someone does, but they can’t get you out of the water. And eventually you care enough about them to let them go or they become too weary holding onto you and let go.” ~Johnnie

“It means having difficulty finding answers to your problems when you don’t even know the questions.” ~Angela

“It means I always wonder if my mind is lying to me or not (usually it is). ” ~Jessica


“It means accepting with as much grace as possible that my brain doesn’t always work the way I want it to, and that some days, living is extra hard work.” ~Melissa

“It means that something is off in my biology and it affects my functioning at times. It does not define me.” ~Allsun


To read more about what people said regarding their mental illness, read NAMI’s full blog post.




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