Mental Illness Isn’t a Character in an Indie Movie

Katy Somerville

Katy Somerville

Writer at She Might Be
Living in the land of Oz, running on stars, caffeine, lipstick, birds, and pessimism.
Katy Somerville

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Content warning: this article contains aspects which may trigger some readers, including self harm and mental illness. 


Mental illness is not a thing to be romanticised.

It’s not a fun and quirky aspect of a character in an indie rom-com.

Mental illness is lying on the floor of my loungeroom and wanting to fall through the floor.

To dissolve.

To disappear.

Mental illness isn’t always brought on by one specific event or occurrence. It can be a dormant dragon that suddenly wakes up for no reason and tries to rip you apart.

It’s hearing variations of,

“what are you depressed about?”

“you’ve got no reason to be depressed”

“It could be so much worse.”

It is being afraid to be truthful because I don’t want to seem ungrateful or batshit because I feel like the world is spinning out of control with me right in the middle.

Mental illness is wanting to feel a blade against my skin so fucking badly that I dig my nails into my hand, just so I won’t give in to what I actually want to do.

Mental illness is not being able to work because I have such bad anxiety and break down in tears. Not being classed as “ill enough” to receive health benefits because I’m not “actively suicidal” but not well enough to hold down a job due to said anxiety and depression and epic meltdowns. The vicious cycle continues.

Mental illness is hearing “so what do you do?” and having to answer awkwardly, “oh, I’m not working at the moment…” while wanting to answer “Surviving”.

Mental illness is hearing “you should be grateful and happy – you’re getting married” which then makes the negative voice in the back of my head wonder how long I will be able to keep this marriage going, since I failed so dismally last time.

Mental illness is feeling constantly judged (sometimes because I am paranoid, sometimes because these things have literally been said to me) by strangers and people I know:

 I can’t believe she’s getting married AGAIN – she’s 32, that’s crazy. Maybe if she took better care of her physical health she wouldn’t be depressed – it’s just coz she’s fat. She doesn’t work, she’s so lazy. She’s always sad, she’s always “depressed”, she’s not really sick, it’s all in her head, she’s overreacting, she just wants attention etc etc

It doesn’t just go away. Not for everyone.

It is not something that has a quick fix. It has things that can help you survive and live side by side with it, but it hasn’t got a magical Hogwarts spell – Mentalus Illness Reparo…

Mental illness is different for every single person and things that help one person may be useless to another.

Mental illness is admitting when I’m having a god-awful day.

It does not mean I’m weak.

 Mental Illness Isn't A Character in an Indie Movie

It’s just a wretched, little aspect of my “me”.

Mental illness may be kicking my fucking arse today. Mental illness may make me feel like I’m drowning in the fucking ocean.

Tomorrow I may be able to float in that ocean instead of flailing but if I can’t – that’s okay too.


Katy Somerville
Katy Somerville

Living in the land of Oz, running on stars, caffeine, lipstick, birds, and pessimism.


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