While it’s always amazing to see more people opening up about their mental health, it seems certain issues become more acceptable to talk about than others. Of course, we need to continue spreading awareness about topics like depression and anxiety — but we can’t forget about people living with mental illnesses that maybe aren’t as understood nor common. In fact, anxiety and depression often co-occur with other disorders people might not feel as comfortable talking about.
To find out which disorders people feel get left behind, we asked our mental health community to let us know which types of mental illnesses we don’t talk about enough.
Of course, this doesn’t mean all mental illnesses don’t deserve more awareness. Everyone deserves to know they’re not alone. No matter what you’re living with, keep talking about your experiences.
Here’s what they shared with us:
“If it is recognized, it’s very misinformed and stigmatized.” — Satonia R.
“The stigma is so awful that many mental health professionals don’t even want to work with us. We are kind, compassionate people, who feel everything very deeply.” — Lauren C.
To learn more about borderline personality disorder, head here or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
2. Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)
“C-PTSD (Complex PTSD). I was never in a physical war, so people assume I can’t have it. They say it couldn’t have been that bad and call me lucky. No one knows what I went though as a child and adult and how it affects me today when everything is fight or flight on a daily basis.” — Megan K.
“I have PTSD due to childhood bullying, but everyone thinks of guns and major accidents causing PTSD. It’s not like that for me though. I literally panic if I see anyone who looks like the person and have panic attacks if in close contact with them.” — Jess H.
To learn more about C-PTSD, head here or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
3. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
“I don’t think dissociative identity disorder gets enough awareness that includes accurate, factual information… Compared to a lot of disorders, this is one of the misunderstood and stigmatized. People often feel they can question and say anything they want to someone diagnosed with DID that they wouldn’t usually say to someone with a more ‘understood’ condition… For some people, the only ‘awareness’ of DID they get is from movies that focus on someone with DID as a killer. I still see people using outdated terminology such as ‘multiple personality’ or ‘split personality’ — both of which are incorrect. DID gets treated as entertainment for horror or drama films and in real life is treated by society with such ignorance. A lot of people who are not trained in trauma-related disorders seem to have a lot to say about the validity of this specific disorder, even if they can’t be bothered to do any actual reading or research on it.” — Megan S.
“Up until I took a music in medicine class I had no idea what it was. I still thought it was multiple personality disorder.” — Jessica M.
To learn more about DID, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Despite OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders) being just as common, almost no one has heard of it. Even medical professionals overlook eating disorders if you don’t fit into the neat little boxes. This means people with anorexia who are males may be overlooked. People who have any of the other eating disorders are almost never believed. Atypical anorexia, purging disorder, exercise bulimia and other subtypes of the ‘main two’ (anorexia and bulimia) and OSFED exist, too. BED (binge eating disorder) exists, ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) exists. … And everyone with an eating disorder is not a skinny, white, teenage girl.” — Benji Y.
“Binge-eating disorder. It’s hard to find blogs, videos or other media discussing it because of the shame associated with the disorder. There is also the issue with size. People are misinformed about size. Not all people who have the disorder are overweight, and those who are deserve treatment just like everyone else. No, their health problems aren’t their fault.” — Monica S.
To learn more about types of eating disorder we don’t often talk about, head here or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Highly stigmatized, and people don’t know how to even touch the subject. If someone has a hallucination, people often bring it more to life, asking who/what/where it is, attempting to interact with it, the whole bit.” — Siobhan N.
“You think enough people would know about it, but I am a social work student… and so many students have no idea what it is when we begin studying the DSM-5. Or they know and get it mixed up with multiple personality disorder instead.” — Alexandria A.
“I feel like this mental illness is always overlooked because it seems scary. Or people don’t understand it. I wish people realized people with schizophrenia are people and not their illness. That it’s just an illness of the mind. Not a flaw in being a person.” — Becky R.
To learn more about schizophrenia, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“It’s not about being scared to leave the house; it’s about avoiding triggers of panic, of being ‘stuck’ and unable to ‘escape.’ It’s anxiety of anxiety. It’s isolation to the home because that becomes the only ‘safe’ place away from the panic and resulting embarrassment and humiliation of having a panic attack in public. The anxiety of knowing you’re not in control of your panic and the only way to control it is to avoid the triggers. For some, this avoidance demands one stay at home to avoid these debilitating feelings and fears.” — Emmie E.
“People just use what they see portrayed in the media as their information on it. We are not all housebound. We may be very limited in where we can go, or we may need a safety person to go with us, but many of us can indeed leave the house and do many things, with a little assistance.” — Jennifer H.
To learn more about agoraphobia, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Avoidant personality disorder. Only two percent of the population is estimated to have it, but it likely goes under-diagnosed because no one knows about it, but so many people who could have it are already so withdrawn that it really needs more awareness.” — Jessica C.
To learn more about avoidant personality disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
8. Selective Mutism
“An extreme shyness anxiety disorder people often don’t know too much about and children end up adults not being able to talk to people or communicate without the proper help and therapy.” — Caitlin H.
9. Harm OCD
“Harm OCD — really, any form of OCD that isn’t associated with cleanliness and hygiene could use more coverage. Not to minimize how serious that kind of OCD can be, but when you tell someone you have OCD, their first assumption is you’re ‘super organized’ or can’t stand to touch door handles. There’s a spectrum. People need to understand that.” — Kristy H.
To learn more about Harm OCD, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
10. Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors
“Excoriation disorder! It’s only been in the DSM since 2013 and to this day I still have to introduce and educate doctors, dermatologists and counselors to the word. It’s disheartening because very few med professionals know about it, or are knowledgeable enough on the topic to give help to those who have the disorder.” — Karley S.
To learn more about excoriation disorder and other body-focused repetitive behaviors, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Schizoaffective disorder is rarely ever talked about; it’s like a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar.” — Shannon P.
“The majority of people haven’t even heard of it, let alone what it entails, even within the mental health community.” — Fallon G.
“I didn’t even know the disorder existed until I was diagnosed in the psych ward. And then to top it all off, they never even explained to me what it meant. It took a lot research to figure out what the hell that meant. It’s more than just schizophrenia because regular schizophrenia doesn’t deal with the mood, while schizoaffective does.” — Brianna P.
To learn more about schizoaffective disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“I’ve never met anyone who knows what this is.” — Meredith G.
To learn more about premenstrual dysphoric disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
13. Adjustment Disorder
“It’s not talked about enough and that leads to it going undiagnosed or not taken seriously.” — Mary-Catherine M.
To learn more about adjustment disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“I feel its often laughed at and not taken seriously. (Hell, I even laugh it off myself sometimes.) It’s a very life-altering illness though, and can be extremely debilitating.” — Ruth M.
To learn more about hypochondria, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Postpartum depression/anxiety/PTSD. Everyone is quick to assume it’s just the baby blues or that, ‘You chose to become a mother so deal with it.’ It’s incredibly difficult to get anyone to take you seriously when the responses are, ‘Get more sleep,’ ‘It’s no big deal,’ ‘You’ll get used to it,’ or when they go to the extreme opposite and assume you’ll hurt your child.” — Amanda M.
“Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. People tend to confuse it with baby blues.” — Maggie H.
To learn more about postpartum disorders, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
What did we miss? Tell us in the comments below.