I only have three stories published on The Mighty. When I began writing about my mental illnesses, I was honestly pretty scared because The Mighty has such a large following and I was worried that people would say mean things about me or tell me I was wrong about something.
My very first post was about how my GAD makes me gag. I got a good response and I saw so many comments of people telling me that I wasn’t alone. My second post was about the things that trigger my anxiety. Again, I got a very good response and so many people commented about their struggles too.
I decided to write a story about my adjustment disorder. There were no articles on The Mighty about it and I felt isolated. I figured since this community is pretty accepting, I was ready for it. I was very nervous to share this part because of the fact that adjustment disorder seems a bit weird and far-fetched.
That is when people started to get mean. I was told things like it wasn’t a real mental illness, everyone has an adjustment period when extreme life changes happen, I need to get off of my medication, and that I was just a highly sensitive person.
Having your mental illness basically invalidated is actually kind of disheartening. My first reaction when I read these comments was to ask The Mighty to take my story down because I all of a sudden felt ashamed.
I began to think about it objectively, with help from my husband and my best friend. These people did not know my struggle. They did not feel my pain. They did not stand in my shoes while my entire life changed one year ago. They did not hear my thoughts. They were not a fly on the wall during my therapy sessions. They did not know the background story. It was my husband and my best friend who witnessed all of this, minus the therapy sessions. They were there with me and they know it is real. I know it is real.
Yes, everyone has an adjustment period. However, everyone adjusts eventually and usually without help. I needed therapy. I wasn’t adjusting, even a little bit. I was wishing I was dead, saying that I’d rather be dead than have this stuff happening to me, I was neglecting my own hygiene, my relationships, my house, my health, everything.
Many people assumed I was only diagnosed with the adjustment disorder. As it turns out, I am not. I also have depression and anxiety. I take medication for those two, not for the adjustment disorder.
In the end, I cannot control how other people treat me or the comments they leave on the things that I write.
I can control how I react to it and what I think about it. It is a little weird thinking about my thoughts, but I have to do it. My initial reaction when I see a mean comment is usually shame or sadness. Then I get to pondering things like the fact that these people don’t actually know me, they only know part of my story, and they are making these assumptions without knowing all of the facts.
All of this has taught me to do the exact opposite as them. Be positive, encouraging, and sympathetic to people’s struggles because you, a stranger on the Internet, do not know their entire story.