Welcome back to Mental Monday and today we’re going to talk about yet another sensitive and probably controversial topic. At this point, I truly believe these things need to be said and discussed throughout the world. For too long too many people around the world have been fighting their mental battles alone, and its time people start taking notice of their friends and love ones. So, please go in with an open mind and let us begin.
Dealing with depression for the past ten years has not been the easiest way to live and I know that there are others that have it worse than me. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel and say I give up. But I figured out quickly that I couldn’t do it alone. So, one day I decided to share my mental health with a few friends and chosen family members, and the first time didn’t go so well. I found myself withdrawing from them and soon going into a state of isolation. Till the point that I chose to keep it myself and praying that it didn’t take a toll on me. Now, that I’m older and wiser I’m going to give you a list of a few things you should not say to Mentally ill people.
There’s No Such Thing as Mental Illness
Right out of the gate and this one is the most disturb, yet most annoying thing to say to anyone. I’ll never understand how this stigma got started or why it’s sticking around like it is. I was told this once and I believed that person. Someone I once called a friend convinced me that there was nothing wrong with me. When there was and I chose to ignore it. Because of my inability to go seek professional help. My depression built up so much, that it took its toll and put me in a situation that I never thought I saw myself in. (I’ll talk about that more this Friday on a special Mental Monday.)
What I’m trying to say is. Don’t ever tell someone that Mental Illness doesn’t exist. You have no idea how damaging it could be. That person can listen to you and do God knows what with their life, leaving their mental health uncheck. And before they know it, they’re alone in the world. Nothing to hold on to and no one to look for. Why, because someone pulled their “Ph.D.” out of a cereal box and told them that Mental Illness is not real.
If You Didn’t Go to A Therapist, Then You’re Fine
Okay tricky one here, because, yes, people do self-diagnose themselves by searching through this thing called the internet. I highly recommend not doing that and going to see a professional if you’re mentally ill. However, to those that are diagnosed like yours truly, then yeah, that statement can hurt a little bit. Usually when people hear that a friend or family member has been diagnosed the first thing that came to mind is, who? It’s a fair question nonetheless, but some people want an answer that satisfies them and if it doesn’t then they think you’re completely fine. Some will go further than that, but I’ll talk about that in a few weeks. The bottom line is if someone tells you that they’re Depressed, Bi-polar, suffered from Anxiety, etc. And they tell you they went to a Therapist or a Counselor, IT COUNTS. There’s nothing more nor less you need to know. Unless you like to know the name of said Therapist and/or Counselor.
You’re Just Seeking Attention
Okay, this one took me back a little. Remember when I said I brought up my mental health to my family once before. Yeah, this was the response I got and was it damaging? Yes, yes it was. I isolated myself from the world and kept my problems to myself. I felt that no one cared about what I was going through. Even though I was caring about them and their problems, I always came second…probably even third.
Telling someone that their seeking attention because of their mental illness is a definite no. That’s not something you say to a person who wanted to be transparent about their issues. They came to you in confidence to reveal this key information and that’s is the last thing they want to hear. If they hear it as I said earlier, isolation and keeping to themselves will be their new trade-in life. And that’s not something anyone would want.
It’s too much for Me to Handle
Dealing with a mentally ill person can be challenging for many. This much is true and there’s no denying it. It sucks and we all know it, but if that phrase was said to someone that needs the support or help. It’s not going to be pretty. Imagine yourself, being mentally ill right now and the one person you could rely on said: “It’s too much.” Do you think that would hurt you? Drive you over the edge? Make you think worse of yourself?
As a person dealing with depression even as I write this right now. It hurts like hell that so many people have told me that. I only rely on one person and I feel I’m becoming a burden to her each day. Even when she tells me I’m not, the fear of hearing that phrase again is exhausting at best. But the only thing I can do is have faith that’ll she be around for a long time.
There’re are many things you shouldn’t say to a mentally ill person, even if you think you’re helping them. In a few weeks, I’ll talk about how people should help people who are mentally ill. The list might surprise you on how simple things are. Until next time, thank you for reading and have a safe and blessed week.