Self-Pity and Mental Illness: It's Not Ever Going to Be Fair

September 17, 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

When you live with a mental illness, you might feel self-pity or that your diagnosis is unfair. But it's important to put a different spin on mental illness.

It's Not Fair That I Have a Mental Illness!

Right. Not Fair. I get it! It sort of sucks. I get that you're feeling self-pity over having a mental illness. We have a couple of options here: get over the fact we have a mental illness and carry on with life or keep on feeling bad for ourselves. Should we continue to wallow in self-pity over having a mental illness? No.

Come On . . . I Should Have Time to Feel Bad For Myself!

Sure. Close your eyes--insert zen-like feelings here--Count to 148. Open them. Now, we can move on. Need more time? Okay, fair enough. Go vacuum the floor or walk your dog. I hear those are great coping skills. Done? Great, now we can move on!

I've Felt Self-Pity over My Mental Illness

If I were serious I would be a couple of undesirable things: A complete narcissist and someone who has no idea how hard it is to accept the diagnosis of chronic mental illness. But I do. And I spent a good amount of time feeling pretty damn bad about the whole thing. When my world crashes and burns to black, yes, I might be laying in bed and cursing a god I am not sure exists. I hear the birds outside and curse them for sounding happy. But then I remember . . .

If We Are Diagnosed and Treated for a Mental Illness, We Are Lucky!

When I was first diagnosed I was twelve-years old. It was rare for a child to be diagnosed with a serious mental illness at such a young age--it still is, though less so--and I felt pretty unlucky. I was angry. I was locked in a hospital and my friends were at the school dance. It seemed pretty unfair and perhaps it was. Now that I have lived with this illness and I have been treated for it for over a decade, I no longer feel this way. Sometimes, I feel lucky.

Why We Should Let Self-Pity Go

Let me break it down to the best of my abilities. It's a hard thing to explain and feel free to spark some healthy debate. Nevertheless...

  • We are lucky treatment exists.
  • We are lucky we have been diagnosed. Many people live with a chronic illness and never receive help for many reasons.
  • We can recover. It's a lot of work, sure, but it's a road we walk to stability.
  • We are in good (albeit maybe angry) company. Many people struggle with mental illness.
  • We are able to move our bodies. I know this might sound weird but sometimes when I start to feel a little bad for myself I remember that people live with serious physical illness too.

The list goes on. Collectively, we could name hundreds of reasons. But it's still hard to live with a mental illness.

Okay. Why Don't I feel Any Better?

Well, this is pretty simple from my end of the desk: When painful things happen in our lives, when suddenly everything changes, it's hard to count our blessings. But I like to try. I think of the little-big things like the roof over my head and a family that supports me. I feel grateful I am able to be treated for my illness and live--just live. Many times I did not want to live and perhaps you understand: mental illness hurts and when things hurt they don't feel fair.

Try to count your blessings, the things that make you happy even when you, when we, feel pretty awful. Life is journey and sorry for the cliche but try to walk it with a little jump in your step. It isn't all so bad. We're lucky. Really, we are.

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2012, September 17). Self-Pity and Mental Illness: It's Not Ever Going to Be Fair, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 18 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

Dr Musli Ferati
September, 28 2012 at 8:24 pm

Unlike other somatic diseases, mental disorders present many misunderstanding and misconceptions as well through public opinion. This ill-fated point of view overloaded seriously the course of any mental illness, rendering more difficult psycho-social status of mentally ill patient. This fact is in concordance with yours long term emotional suffering, which ones hindered the appropriate treatment of your mental disorder. Indeed, mental disorders are identical curable as other somatic diseases by current psychiatric treatment and management. Mentally ill patient are victim of atavistic and primitive attitudes on psychiatric entities. So, it should to promote the service of adequate mental health service in order to throw away all these prejudices, in order to mitigate the long term process of psychiatric treatment. But this mission isn't easy accomplishment deed in real life, because there are many hazy-time about psychiatric illnesses, everywhere and in any place worldwide.

February, 13 2020 at 3:21 pm

It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself

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