A Distinction Between The Mental Illnesses

NOTE: Severe mental illnesses, more often than not, are chronic and disabling. That’s bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder.

My schizoaffective disorder is chronic and has been particularly disabling for the past year.

Things have always been bad, and it’s not a sometimes-thing (or a badge of honor) when I say that my every day experience is shit!

The reason for this post is that sometimes non-disabling mental illnesses are lumped into the same category as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder.

Why does this distinction matter?

It matters because I do not want people being misinformed or disinformed, and this is a blog that is primarily about my lived experiences with severe mental illness.

Yes, all mental illness is bad! And, I am often quite liberal in saying that.

As I share this with you, it feels like I will be accused of invalidating other mental illnesses (i.e. anxiety and depression).

Invalidating others’ experiences is not what I’m about!

But, I will write more about severe mental illness than any other topic. And, I ask that everyone understand this, and do not invalidate me (or any of my readers) for this.

I know all too well that all mental illness SUCKS and that it’s not a competition.

Before I got my final diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, I had anxiety and depression.

I didn’t know I had those things, but looking back, that’s exactly what I was dealing with.

Why am I telling you this?

Untreated anxiety and depression can lead to psychosis, with an emphasis on these conditions being “untreated.“

For my handful of readers, I’m not sure I needed to share all of this, but I wanted to reiterate a few things overall.

Thanks for your understanding!

8 Comments

  1. It’s important to speak your truths. Your experiences will help others in similar situations, or loved one who care for those with mental illnesses have a better understanding of what their loved one experiences on a daily basis. Anyone who accuses you of anything else is simply too closed-minded to realize not everything is about them. I applaud you for your open honesty.

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  2. I sometimes come across people saying that the COVID pandemic will help to decrease stigma because more people are dealing with mental health issues. While that may be true with mild anxiety and depression, serious and persistent mental illness is a whole other can of tuna, and people are probably as clueless about that as ever.

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  3. I agree. Psychosis is on a different level, and many people are clueless. I think major depression with psychotic features or PTSD with psychotic features has less stigma than bipolar, schizophrenia, schizoaffective etc.

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    1. Hey Jus… I think you’re right! Some of the stigma associated with the illnesses you’ve mentioned do get a lot of eyebrows raised, when they shouldn’t. It’s people who don’t understand feelings, lack empathy, or something similar that “refuse” (in some cases) to “get it.”

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      1. Yup! And some do believe and perpetuate the stigma. One of my former friends is/was a nurse who worked a short time in a psych ward. The ridiculous stigma from her really showed how much she lacked empathy, as well as lacked curiosity to do her job better, and I hope she never works in a psych ward ever again.

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