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Fake It Till You Make It and My Mental Health Journey

Updated: Apr 30

Being honest with myself about my mental health symptoms is hard. If I've been in recovery for a while, being honest with myself is even more complicated. As Mental Health Awareness Month ends, I reflect on the famous "fake it till you make it" motto.

I may deny I'm enjoying things less or isolating and avoiding what makes me most anxious. I might ignore that I'm decreasing my healthy habits and increasing my unhealthy ones. At this point, I just want to push through - to fake it till I make it! This may work in that I don't enter a crisis. Yet, in time, it catches up with me. If I'd used healthy coping or reached out for help, I'd have felt less suffering. Plus, it often feels dishonest.

So is 'fake it til you make it" good for my mental health?

Yes, my "fake it til I make it" can be my genuine desire to not give in to my increased mental health symptoms. If I ignore the signs and continue to do what I value, it'll be okay, I hope. If I believe they do not have the power to stop me or define me, they'll pass.

No, my "fake it til I make it" can be my effort to pretend my symptoms and self-care don't matter. I'll do my best to conceal my intense anxiety about how hard my symptoms make it for me to function.

We may find, over time, the kinds of support we need. We might discover those who love us have noticed aspects of our patterns and needs before we do. I need multiple nudges to receive help when my symptoms are worst and most frequent.

When it means not telling anyone I'm having a hard time, "faking it till I make it,"poses a danger.

When I'm experiencing increased symptoms, I find it helpful to:

  • Get outside for a change of scenery

  • Listen to my favorite music

  • Go to therapy or a support group

  • Do something physical, like swim or go for a walk

  • Think twice before I say “I’m good” when someone I trust asks

Respond with your own experiences and thoughts on our social media posts!

Does "fake it till you make it" help with your increased symptoms?

What things do you find helpful when managing increased symptoms?

Those who love those who experience symptoms, what are your thoughts?

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Derek H. Sire (they/them)


NAMI KDK offers free support groups for individuals who experience mental illness symptoms and free support groups for those who love them. We also provide free community presentations in schools and advocacy opportunities. Learn about our programs or email

Call or text 988 if you are in crisis or need resources, or text NAMI to 741741 for 24/7 crisis support. You may call the Illinois Warm Line at 866-359-7953 or contact the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-6265 or

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