When family and friends talk to me or about me, they keep referring to the past. They actually expect me to be the same.
You used to be ambitious.
You used to want to start a business.
How come you were able to raise a family if you had a mental illness?
You used to be able to work. Why can’t you work now.
On and on
Many of them do not accept that you can have an undiagnosed illness, mental or physical and function as what they call “normal”.
By the way, who defines what normal is anyway. Who says that our brain is well and everyone who does not have a mental illness is the one with the sick brain. I am not being funny, but who determines normal is the same to me as who determines “success”.
I had a conversation with someone and they admitted they did not see me as a person with a mental illness. They viewed me as the way, I was before my diagnosis.
A friend of mine answered the questions with one short sentence:
” You were on automatic pilot”
Looking back I now realize the symptoms were always there, even as a teenager. There were bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts, decreased need for sleep and RAGE
Again, who determines normal?
They do not realize I am still ambitious, but as an advocate for mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse.
I still want to start a business: a safe haven giving people the tools to minimize relapse.
If they would accept that I have a mental illness, they would realize that the sickness was always there but we never suspected anything like a mental illness.
The final example: I had cancer at age 20. It was there long before I was diagnosed. Just because it had not been diagnosed, does that mean it was not there?