Have you ever noticed how some organizations created to be there for the welfare of people with mental health issues, talk more about us than listen to us? It’s the same when groups of people gather to talk about how they can support us. They talk about us. We ourselves are not given a voice. Do we not deserve a voice when there is discussion concerning our needs? Don’t we ourselves best know what our needs are?

And when we talk about the way we feel about things–perhaps the way we’ve been hurt–our truths are not heard. In many cases we’re not taken seriously, not believed.

Is it that people think our illness makes us confused or irrational–untrustworthy? They don’t realize that such problems with our thinking only come during episodes of illness. Most people are not themselves during times of stress–mentally ill or not. For most of us who live with mental health issues–especially those on medication–we are as rational as anyone most of the time.

When people hear that you have mental health issues, their automatic response is that you have no credibility. In other words, you’re not worth listening to.

You are treated as though you’re a nonperson. Considered less than human.

When curious people read about the symptoms of mental illness on the internet, they seldom read anything about the episodic nature of an illness like bipolar illness (for example). Few people realize that we’re as real as they are–people who struggle once in a while. People who need respect, as all people need respect.

Do you feel heard?