Mental illness holds us hostage in our homes. We don’t want to leave, but we just can’t. We would love to meet you for coffee, but no, we can’t. We would love to go to the movies with you, but no, we can’t. You might be thinking, “Just try!” or “Stop making excuses!” The truth is that mental illness makes it extremely difficult for us to leave the house. It takes an immense amount of energy and planning to get ourselves out of the house when we are struggling with a mental illness.
Here are the 8reasons why :
1) It requires effort
For the mentally ill, a single day can bring a whole host of challenges. The routine of showering, getting dressed and leaving the house can seem like an insurmountable feat. There's so much to do in order to get out of bed and leave the house, and sometimes it can feel really overwhelming. Some days you feel like you're ready to face the world, and sometimes it feels absolutely impossible.
It can be especially difficult when you have a mental illness like depression or anxiety because your brain sometimes lies to you. It's like there's a voice inside your head that tells you that showering makes no difference, that even if you do get out of bed today, nobody will care.
But there are also moments when you come out of this trance-like state and realize that you've spent the last few hours curled up in bed staring at your ceiling fan or at nothing in particular. This is when you begin to feel guilty for being lazy and unproductive, which leads to feelings of low self-worth. More often than not, this guilt is misplaced because mental illnesses aren't something we choose or want to deal with. It's not laziness—it's a debilitating condition that affects everyone differently.
2) It requires energy
When it comes to inputting energy, mentally ill people deal with many obstacles.
One of the biggest things that makes it difficult for us to leave the house is the fact that we are constantly bombarded with input from our surroundings (like sounds, sights, and smells). If you have ever been in a situation where you are experiencing sensory overload, you know how uncomfortable it can be. You may feel like your head is going to explode because there are so many things that you don't want to see or hear. Mentally ill people often feel this way when they go outside of their homes.
Another obstacle that mentally ill people face when it comes to inputting energy is the fact that they must constantly be vigilant about what they are doing. For example, if someone has schizophrenia and they hear voices telling them to do something bad or dangerous, they need to be aware of this at all times so they do not act on those impulses. This can be exhausting! It takes a lot of mental effort just to make sure that we are not harming ourselves or someone else by listening too closely to what these voices say (or even worse – acting out on these instructions). This added stress means less time for other important things like schoolwork, socializing with friends and family members which is exhausting for them.
3) It requires planning
Mental illness often causes people to withdraw from the world, and sometimes this means they can't leave the house. They might even turn down an invitation to see a friend, but as anyone who's ever spent time with someone who's mentally ill knows, it can be hard to tell if they're just being lazy or if they're actually unwell.
One of the main reasons it can be hard for people with mental illness to leave their homes is that planning something—even something as simple as meeting a friend for coffee—can be overwhelming. It's hard enough just to get through your day when you're living with depression or anxiety, so thinking about tomorrow can feel like too much.
As someone who has social anxiety and clinical depression, I know how stressful it is to commit myself to plans. Even though I have friends and family who love me unconditionally, I'm still afraid that I'll inconvenience them by cancelling on plans at the last minute because of my mental health. It's not that I don't want to see these people; it's just that my brain is telling me that I'm not good enough for them and that I'll ruin their lives by being around them when some days I can barely manage to get out of bed.
4) It requires motivation
Mental illness is not glamorous. It's ugly. It's painful. It's embarrassing. And it can be debilitating, making the simplest tasks difficult (or impossible) to accomplish. In our society, many of us take for granted the ability to go to the grocery store or meet a friend for dinner. But when you live with a mental illness, even the most everyday activities can feel like huge challenges that can't be overcome.
For people who are struggling with depression or anxiety, it sometimes takes all their energy just to get out of bed in the morning and face the day. It feels like they're moving through life in slow motion. Things that once seemed simple now seem daunting and overwhelming—like making a trip to the grocery store or running errands. If you take for granted your ability to just “get something done,” imagine how you'd feel if even going to the corner store was challenging.
Getting out of bed and doing what you need to do is a challenge for anyone, but it's especially tough for those of us living with mental illness. A lot of people assume that the reason we don't get out of bed on days when we're not feeling well has to do with lack of motivation, or lack of will. They see someone who's not doing the things they know they should do and assume that it's because they're just not motivated enough to do them.I wish it were that simple. The truth is, motivation isn't something we can simply turn on and off at will. People who are mentally ill deal with motivation in a totally different way than those who aren't: It's a constant struggle, and it's impossible to predict when our illness will affect our ability to motivate ourselves.It's hard for someone who isn't mentally ill to understand how debilitating this can be.
Some people don't understand this because they have never experienced it themselves, but it's very real for those who have mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. I know this because I've lived with depression and anxiety for many years and know firsthand how much mental illness can affect someone's daily life—making things that should be easy feel impossible.
5) It requires physical ability
Physical activity makes it hard for mentally ill people to leave the house. People with mental illnesses that impact their energy levels and their ability to focus on tasks face challenges when it comes to physical activity that healthy people can't even imagine. It's a vicious cycle: we want to go outside, but our depression and anxiety prevent us from doing so; we need the physical activity that comes from going outside in order to reduce our depression and anxiety.
We want to go outside, but our depression and anxiety prevent us from doing so; we need the physical activity that comes from going outside in order to reduce our depression and anxiety.
6)It requires emotional strength
There are two types of strength: emotional strength and physical strength. Emotional strength is being able to endure hardships, pain, and uncertainty. It's being able to manage difficult situations, persevere through disappointment and make hard decisions. Physical strength is the ability to exert force on objects or oneself.
The thing about emotional strength is that while it may be a good quality, in the case of people suffering from mental illness, it can actually make it more difficult for them to get help. We've created a culture where people believe they have to be strong enough to deal with their own problems instead of reaching out for help.
7) It requires social skills
Sadly, it is a common misconception that people who are mentally ill are also socially inept. They're not. In fact, as we've read in several studies over the years, people with mental illnesses usually have higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence than those without. That's why they care so much about the opinions of others—the difference is that when there's something wrong with their brains, it can sometimes make socializing very difficult for them.
Society puts pressure on people to fit in and be like everyone else: to dress like everyone else, talk like everyone else, and behave like everyone else. And when you look like the rest of society but don't feel like you belong in it, it's a lonely feeling.
8) People will judge us
Mentally ill people think that other people are judging them because they've been judged, and they're not wrong. We all have some measure of social anxiety, but it's amplified for mentally ill people. Here are just a few of the reasons mentally ill people think the world is judging them:
When we feel isolated and we're already feeling bad about ourselves, it's easy to believe that we're fundamentally different from our peers, so much so that they wouldn't possibly understand what we're going through or why we do the things we do.
A lot of us have experienced being judged or rejected by another person on account of our mental illness. It's difficult to separate one judgmental person from everyone else. This doesn't mean that every person will be judgmental; it just means that when someone has been so vulnerable as to share their mental health struggles only to have those struggles used against them, it can be hard to open up again.
Mentally ill people often feel very uncomfortable in social situations and might not know how to act around other people. It can be difficult to tell what's “normal” behavior and what isn't, especially when you've lived most of your life being told that you aren't normal.
As a society, we're making progress. Because mental illness is becoming less of a taboo topic, we can find the help we need when we need it, potentially saving lives and improving our daily quality of life in the process.
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