How Do You Describe Yourself When Facing Mental Illness?

HealthyPlace Mental Health Newsletter

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:



More Treatment Options for Alzheimer’s Disease are Needed

New medications for Alzheimer’s are needed to provide patients, caregivers and their physicians with more treatment options. The MINDSET study is a global Phase III clinical research study evaluating an investigational drug for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The study will enroll approximately 1,150 participants in 22 countries. To find out more visit today.


Subscribe to our NEW daily email mental health newsletter.

Mental illness is not who people are at their core. Learn how the way you describe yourself can affect your mental health at HealthyPlace

How Do You Describe Yourself When Facing Mental Illness?

Mental health challenges can be difficult enough on their own. They become daunting when we beat ourselves up because of them and describe ourselves harshly, negatively—and unfairly. Looking beyond the mental illness symptoms can feel impossible, and people come to describe themselves pretty cruelly.

When "I'm depressed" replaces "I live with depression," or "I'm inept around people" replaces "I'm experiencing social anxiety," people begin to internalize their mental health challenges. This self-labeling leads to other negative descriptions such as "loser," "worthless," and more. Using harsh descriptions affects the way we think about ourselves, feel about ourselves, and interact with the world. (Combat Negative Self-Talk with the Three C's)

Mental illness is something people deal with; it is not who people are at their core. Separating yourself from your mental health challenges is an important step in describing yourself accurately and kindly.

  • Examine who you are beyond what you're dealing with.
  • Catch yourself using negative descriptions, and change them.
  • Use this formula: "I may have social anxiety, but I am _______ or I can_______.
  • Keep a self-description journal to jot down and return to these empowering descriptions.
  • How do you describe yourself when facing mental health challenges? Are you describing side effects of the challenges, or are you describing your true self?

How do you describe yourself when facing mental health challenges? Are you describing side effects of the challenges, or are you describing your true self?

Related Articles Dealing with Mental Health Self-Stigma

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: Today’s Question: What helps you describe yourself in a realistic, positive way?  We invite you to participate by commenting and sharing your feelings, experiences and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

continue story below

Share our Stories

At the top and bottom of all our stories, you'll find social share buttons for Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites. If you find a particular story, video, psychological test or other HealthyPlace feature helpful, there's a good chance others in need will too. Please share.

We also get many inquiries about our linking policy. If you have a website or blog, you can link to any page on the HealthyPlace website without asking us beforehand.

Most Popular HealthyPlace Articles Shared by Facebook Fans

Here are the top 3 mental health articles HealthyPlace Facebook fans are recommending you read:

  1. 6 Tips on How to Find a Great Mental Health Counselor
  2. Practice Self-Care on a Budget
  3. PTSD and Fatigue: Is It Normal to Feel So Tired?

If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.


From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.


Stand Up for Mental Health

Thousands Have Joined the Stand Up for Mental Health Campaign

But we still need you. Let others know there's no shame in having depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trichotillomania, OCD, ADHD, schizophrenia or any other mental illness.

Join the Stand Up for Mental Health campaign. Put a button on your website or blog (buttons for family members, parents, mental health professionals and organizations too). We also have covers for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


Latest Mental Health News

These stories and more are featured on our mental health news page:

  • Childhood Poverty Linked To Brain Changes Related To Depression
  • Depression And Obesity Common Among Bipolar Patients With Exhausted Stress System
  • Sleeping In At The Weekend Might Reduce Diabetes Risk
  • Sleep-Deprived Teens Find It Harder To Cope With Stress
  • Teens Who Use Cannabis At Risk Of Schizophrenia
  • Youths With Gender Dysphoria Have Higher Rates Of Asperger Syndrome
  • Standing Desks Improve Student Cognition

That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network (like facebook, stumbleupon, or digg) you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week:

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index


APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2016, January 20). How Do You Describe Yourself When Facing Mental Illness?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, September 30 from

Last Updated: February 3, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info