I realize I am somewhat unstable. I am not joking about this, nor am I saying this because it is now trendy. I am sometimes utterly nuts (ok, maybe more then sometimes). Nearly everyone who knows me is unaware of this though, I have gotten damn good at hiding it. While those who have seen some of the worst are still unaware of how much it still affects me.
The diagnosis I have received in the past is major depression and dysthymic disorder (a near constant state of 'mild' depression). Together these are often referred to as double depression for breviaries sake. While such diagnoses are useful in a clinical setting for treatment, outside of them, they don't mean much of anything. They do not take into account the psychological effects of having a chronic illness, the temporary insanity brought upon by reliving past memories or the occasional utter highs when the chemicals in my brain just go nuts.
One hour I may be fine, then next too depressed to get out of bed, the next a feeling of utter joy (think of an individual with bi-polar going through a severe depressive and then a manic phase in a matter of hours). But despite these occasional massive swings in mood, I tend to keep a perfectly composed facade up for the world to see. A few may see through, but most know me as a calm, composed individual who seems to be able to see through others issues to get at a heart of the problem. My own 'insanity' has allowed me a very personal view into the problems of others to aid them in ways a 'sane' individual would not be able to.
So if I have gotten so good at hiding my neuroses, why am I writing this now? Why would I share this with random individuals? I am writing this because when people hear the phrase 'mental illness' they run scared. The person with real issues beyond their control is often left alone when they need those around them the most. I am writing this to show that, while I may be completely off my rocker, this does not change that I am an individual. I cannot help my mood swings, my anxiety attacks, or my occasional psychotic moments, but I try. I did not ask for this, nor did those you may know who also have issues.
They might not always ask for help, they may even avoid sharing as they might be afraid at how you will react. But they do want you there, they want to feel that they are at least somewhat 'normal'. Because we are normal in most every way, by shunning those with a mental dysfunction, you will only lead to more issues.
Besides, our unpredictability keeps us from getting boring. If you are reading this and you have been made to feel less because of an issue, don't. Every one has their problems, paraphrasing Christopher Titus, it is the dysfunctional ones in the world who the normal turn to when the world goes to hell. While I am not saying mental illness is a positive thing, it is not entirely negative. Just like anything else, it can sometimes be crafted by the individual to gain certain benefits, not always, but in many cases. Do not be ashamed, do get the help you need, but do not feel like you are less. Also remember that asking for help is not a weakness, letting yourself deteriorate is.