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What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

By: Jessica Sayers

According to, about 54 million Americans suffer from some type of mental illness in a given year. With over 200 types of classified mental illnesses, that number can expect to rise. Yet many people cannot recognize mental illness in other people, let alone themselves. Having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, it is just how your brain is wired and it doesn’t make you any less of a person.

Though admitting to yourself that you need help can be difficult, but it is important to do for your well-being. Read the rest of the article to see what mental illness can look like and some common symptoms that people can experience.

The Movies Lie

When many people think of a person who is mentally ill, they think about what they saw in the movies. They picture someone who is tied up in a padded white room, but in reality, many people who have a mental illness are walking around with a smile on their face. This is because mental illness does not have one “look” and can show its head in many different ways.

For some people, their mental illness could make them look disheveled due to lack of sleep. Other people might have their living environment a complete mess with no focus or energy to clean. Remember that the core of any mental illness is not a look, but is a mindset/brain wave pattern that someone has.

Common Symptoms

With no set look to any type of mental illness, how can somebody see if they have one? Many of the common mental health issues have symptoms for people to look for. has listed that many common symptoms are sleep/appetite changes, problems thinking, increased sensitivity, mood changes or feeling disconnected.

These are just some of the symptoms that people can experience, and it does not cover the full list of symptoms for all types of mental illnesses. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or think you do have some type of mental health issue, it is important to get an evaluation.

Support If You Have A Mental Illness

The most important thing to do is to reach out for help and talk to somebody. Tell a friend, therapist, or doctor about what you are experiencing. When talking to someone it is important to be honest about how you are feeling and thinking to make sure that you get the correct help.

Help, for different people, will mean different things to each individual person. Some people might have to go on medication to get their brainwaves back on track, where others might need some inpatient care. No matter what your mental health problem is, big or small, it is important to take care of yourself first and get help. And if you ever do feel suicidal or that you are going to harm either yourself or others call 911.

Next time you are out of your house, look around at the people that are walking the streets to see what mental illness can look like in a person. Even with no clear signs and a smile painted on a person’s face, you might not even know that they are struggling with some type of mental health issue.

About the author:

Jessica has been writing all of her life. She even wrote an Easter story instead of playing with her new toys when she was 8. Now Jessica is a freelance writer that works for Top5Must, Bad Penny Factory, and BabyGaga. When she is not writing, Jessica is reading, drawing, or trying to get her many animals to cuddle her. You can read more of her parenting and baby articles for BabyGaga here or check out her blog for more of her work.

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

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