Why do I have a mental illness?

Having a mental illness can be discouraging. Maybe you just found out you have one and you’re feeling helpless. Or maybe you’ve known for a while and you’re just having a really tough time right now. In moments like these, it’s natural to ask, “Why me?”

The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s not your fault. Nobody “deserves” to have a mental illness. It’s just something that happens, like any other illness. In fact, there’s no single cause of mental illness. It’s a combination of the way your brain is structured and the environment you’ve grown up in. Those aren’t things you can control.

Take a second and give yourself permission to be upset. It’s okay to feel sad about having a mental illness. It’s okay to be scared too. Mental illness isn’t fair, and it sucks—there’s no way around that.

There’s lots of good news too though. People with mental illness often live long and successful lives. Mental illness is just one aspect of your life—it’s something you live with, not who you are. Mental illness can be treated, and things can absolutely get better. Plus, there are lots of other people out there who also live with mental illness and are struggling with the same questions. Finding people to connect with and learning more about what mental illness is and how it’s treated are great places to start.

Treatment & Resources