Mental Illness isn’t partial

Has your mental illness ever been called to question because of the way you look and carry yourself? Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of, “If you saw them you’d never guess they were mentally ill?” or, “They look OK to me, what have they got to worry about?”.

In this article, I’m going to speak about the impartial nature of Mental Illness and why we can’t base someone’s mental state by the way they appear to be.

What is Mental Illness?

Everyone has mental health but not everyone has a mental illness.

Mental health is the condition of a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, whereas mental illness is a mental pattern which causes discomfort and impairment of personal functioning. Mental illness can also be referred to as, mental disorder or psychiatric disorder. A mental disorder doesn’t have one causing factor, but rather is very complex in the way that it can manifest in each person, such causes may include:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Environmental factors
  • Psychological impairment
  • Substance misuse
  • Diet


Around 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions with one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem each year in the UK, it is inevitable that we all know someone/ know of someone affected by mental illness. Mental health is something that affects us every day and in every aspect of our lives, so it’s of great importance that everyone is aware of their mental health and getting the correct support they need in order to function as well as they can.


The impartial nature of mental illness

The symptoms that a person may show could range from being obvious; changes in mood, personal habits and practicing things out of their nature. On the other hand, mental illness could be barely noticeable; occurring as single episode relapses which then makes mental illness hard to detect and could potentially go undiagnosed for some time or even misdiagnosed.

For instance, two people might be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder but their symptoms may differ. One individual might have symptoms such as; lack of speech, social withdrawal, and have a naturally meek disposition, whereas another person might be quite confident in nature, always holding their head high but suffer heart palpitations and avoid eye contact at the moment of close social encounters. You see, both people have a diagnosis of the same mental disorder but carry their illnesses differently.

Mental Illness - Laura Spoonie

Mental Illness doesn’t have a look

At the start of this article, I mentioned just some of the determining factors of Mental illness but there are also over 200 different types of individual mental illnesses. Mental illnesses may have overlapping ‘common’ symptoms but because of the difference in every single person’s determining factors it would be ignorant to say, “If a person doesn’t act a certain way or have a stereotypical ‘look’ then they can’t possibly suffer from Mental illness”.


To conclude, it’s impossible for mental illness to be partial. The nature of mental illness is way too complex for it to have a ‘look’. Anyone can suffer from mental illness, regardless of; race, age, gender, social status, financial status, upbringing.

Mental illness isn’t a simple choice of saying what clothing you’ll wear for today, but rather an impairment in the brain that can at any time affect anyone of us.

Mental illness isn’t exclusive to one kind. Everyone has mental health, therefore, everyone’s mental health is at a potential risk of worsening, worsening can then cause the development of mental illness over time due to the absence of a correct diagnosis and treatment by a mental health professional.

Mental Health Awareness - Laura Spoonie


Articles to look out for this month


World Mental Health Day is fast approaching, 10th October.

Throughout this month I’ll be focussing on Mental Health Awareness; writing posts and sharing art in light of World Mental Health Day.

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6 thoughts on “Mental Illness isn’t partial

  1. An excellent article Laura, the other thing to bear in mind is there are so many grey areas. For instance, I have a family member who has full-blown Bipolar which has involved two occasions of being sectioned over the last twenty years. I, on the other hand, have a very slight leaning towards Bipolar but nothing that is at a level enough to be diagnosed.
    In the same way, my husband has noticed that I occasionally demonstrate a few small traits in the vague direction of autism. Again, this is nothing that has ever been enough to be looked into (and my social skills are highly developed), but I have to agree that the highly focussed interests and repetitive behaviours sections of information do describe me quite well.
    I firmly believe that most people exist on a sliding scale of mental health. There is a tiny percentage of people who seem to live a life devoid of all mental illness and an equally small percentage of people who are entirely crippled by lifelong intense mental illness. The majority of us go through life going through highs and lows. Sorry I didn’t mean to add an essay to the bottom of your blog post this comment sort of wrote itself…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Susan, thanks for reading!

      No need for apologising about essays, haha. I’m focussing on mental health posts for this month for that exact reason… to raise more awareness and get more conversations going about the different areas and dynamics of mental illness and the symptoms. Totally right and it’s also good that you and your husband are able to notice these traits within you!!

      I also think most people exist on the sliding scale and over the years we all pick up our own coping mechanisms to help ourselves get by in life. I think the problem lies though when an impairment of judgment causes someone to be at harms with themselves and not even get a grasp of knowing how to practice safe coping mechanisms.

      I’m definitely going to carry on speaking on this topic, stay tuned and stay sweet xx


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