What is the one misconception about your mental illness that really frustrates you?


Those of us living with mental illness shouldn't be facing stigma in 2024. But we do.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we're addressing the misconceptions that really hold us back.

Saying "I'm so OCD" belittles a very serious condition

If you live with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), you will usually have obsessive thoughts. You are also likely to have compulsions and unhelpful beliefs too.

OCD affects around 1 in 50 people in the UK and can affects areas of your life like work or relationships.

  • When OCD is misunderstood as a cute personality quirk, it is not taken seriously. Inaccurate depictions of OCD literally stop people getting help. This is why it is essential to educate people about what OCD really is.

    Georgina who lives with OCD Georgina who lives with OCD

Attitudes towards people living with BPD are unfair

BPD stands for borderline personality disorder. There are different names for BPD, including emotionally unstable personality disorder or emotional intensity disorder.

Some people find the diagnosis useful, others disagree with it. However you're feeling about BPD, that feeling is valid and should be heard.

  • One misconception that frustrates me is the misdiagnosis of all people with BPD as crazy or manipulative. Often we are just struggling to deal with our pain, and such judgements are not only harsh and reductive, but also unfair.

    Lucy who lives with BPD Lucy who lives with BPD

Bipolar is so much more than ups and downs

Bipolar disorder can be a life-long mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. It affects how you feel, and your mood can change massively from mania to depression. 

You may feel well between these times. When your mood changes, you might see changes in your energy levels or how you act.

  • Hypomania is not always a fun experience, you become a person you don’t even recognise and can make life ruining decisions.

    Nadia who lives with bipolar disorder Nadia who lives with bipolar disorder

Psychosis does not mean "psycho"

Psychosis is a term used to describe when a person interprets or perceives reality in a different way to those around them.

If you experience psychosis, you may process the world around you differently to other people. You might see or hear things that others do not. Or believe things other people do not. Some people describe psychosis as a "break from reality". 

  • One of the most frustrating misconceptions about psychosis is people associating it with “psycho” and thinking it means psychopath. People with psychotic conditions are not dangerous, they need help and to feel safe.

    James who lives with schizoaffective disorder James who lives with schizoaffective disorder

Use of the right language is crucial when it comes to mental illness

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness which affects the way you think, feel and behave. It affects about 1 in every 100 people and symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking, and lack of motivation may affect how you cope with day to day life.

  • I get frustrated when I read or hear that a person is “schizophrenic”. It’s inappropriate to use the name of a serious illness as a descriptor of a certain person, just as it would be wrong to call someone cancerous.

    Phillipa who supports her son with schizophrenia Phillipa who supports her son with schizophrenia

These quotes show that awareness & understanding of what it means to live with a mental illness must improve. Together, we will get there.