Posted by: marilynmendoza | September 27, 2011

Mental illness is a condition I have, it does not define me

I write this now as I am healing but once I thought I was my illness. Many people, even my best friend, told me to snap out of it, just stop acting  “crazy” but I wasn’t acting. As my dear friend who also suffers told me, You don’t ask a paraplegic to get up and walk but people who have this condition of mental illness are also discounted, and told to act better. We have an illness though without a cure does have remedies. What works for one person does not work for another so it’s complicated and to add to this there are so many kinds of mental illness.

Society is so afraid of the mentally ill. We are not contagious, we are for the most part not violent nor evil nor bewitched. These are fallacies that cause pain to us. We are you, We have a condition. It is treatable. Our best is good enough and should be for society. I am not longer a victim of this illness, I am a warrior. I am worth fighting for and I will fight for the rights of people who have mental illness. I don’t know yet how I will win this fight but with the help of my friends and the family of sufferers, we defy the bullies who say to lock us away or not in our neighborhood. I was in a prison. a self-imposed prison but still a prison. I hated myself. Self hatred was not born in me but it followed me around like an unwanted lover. I was born innocent and beautiful and I suffered trauma and all the things that breed mental illness when you have the gene for it. Yet, I never lost myself completely.

 I will practice self-care when I feel myself falling down the well of despair. I will meditate when I feel scared. I will ride the waves of fear until I am the wave and the fear is below me


Mental illness is a condition I have. Please don’t judge me if I act a bit differently from what you are used to. Sometimes, I jump for joy when I feel it. It was a rare thing once, the joy. So don’t think me childish. My childhood had joy but in short spurts. I had a mentally ill mother whose illness made her treat me like she treated herself. She loved me but love scared her and sometimes I reminded her that I came out of her and whatever came out of her was bad. She was ill. I never blamed or hated her. 

 If I act scared sometimes or have to leave a room to breathe, don’t give me those “eyes” that say the C word. I am meditating so I can be the captain of my ship. I refuse to let fear be my master anymore. 

 If you see a person who looks strange to you, ask yourself how would you feel if depression, anxiety and other brain disorders interfered with your daily tasks.

 I ask you all to fight the stigma against mental illness with me. If it is only a kind word, a hug, or to be brave and talk about what scares you about this disorder. We are you, we are human beings with feelings. We have a condition, we can’t get up and walk right now but one day we will have more answers maybe a cure.

 We are worthy of respect. I am worthy of respect. I will not let my anxiety define me. What defines me is holistic. It is pure. It is love. It is artistic and healthy. Mental illness is something I am fighting, it is not me.  Join me  in this fight.  aloha



  1. Marilyn,
    Thank you for your writing and your bravery. I appreciate you. Keep fighting the good fight!

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