by David Bowen, CMWN intern

I am living with a mental health condition. I feel that I need to advocate for myself or I will not have a normal life like everybody else. I consider myself as normal, but in public it that feels strangely uncomfortable.

Sometimes, due to the lack of structure, I feel out of place in public. My schizophrenia kicks in and I start hearing noises. I have to remind myself I that I am in public for certain reasons and the voices I hear are not real. For this reason, I am not in public a lot. I want to change this.

My support system

I want to have lots of friends. I want to be comfortable in public, but it is very hard. I feel I do not get support from other peers. I look to my family, who are helpful to me and my illness. They are a  true support and they constantly direct me to situations that are acceptable to me and my illness.

How I feel in public

If I feel uncomfortable in public, my family backs off. They remember that I feel differently than them. Sometimes I am alone and it makes me feel unequal to everybody else. I have to find alternative activities that fill my time. These activities have to define me and my life with mental illness


I am not a doctor, but I feel they are part of my support system. They make the voices bearably. I know without the doctor I would never be in public. My doctor goes with the flow, and am certain they are an advocate for success.


I should remain open minded. I need to be an advocate for myself. I should not give hope that I can be happy in public situations. I must do all that I can.

Being happy with myself

I have to believe in myself. I should set goals for myself to spend more time in public and do all I can to fix my situation. Do not sabotage myself. Be equal to others even though I am scared. Be happy with myself.

Advocacy 101: How to advocate for me, living with a mental health condition