Since World Mental Health Day just happened on Sunday and I have yet to pay tribute to it, I wanted to shine some light on some ignorant things that are often said to people suffering from mental illness. I think it’s incredibly important to speak up about the seriousness of mental health and end.. the…stigma. I’ve already shared my anxiety story in a previous post (so if you’re curious.. go read) because I wanted at least one person to read it and know that it’s okay to talk about. I also want you readers to know that if you’re ever feeling down or anxious or anything in between, I am 100% here for you to reach out to or message. Don’t ever think that there is nobody out there. I understand your feelings and I know what it’s like to feel alone.
If this post is just TOO DEEP for you then you don’t need to continue.
Here are some things to NOT say to a person with mental illness:
“You’re just doing it for attention”
This one really gets me. Right, I’m having a full-blown panic attack just so I can make people feel bad for me. There are probably 4,000 other ways to do things for attention (like post a scandalous tweet or tattoo a lovers name on your forehead) and depression, anxiety and all the other illnesses out there aren’t those things. If anyone ever says this to you, let them know that they’re a total a-hole. Instead of pointing fingers and accusing.. use the energy to help each other.
“You’re too old to be acting like this”
IMPORTANT: You don’t outgrow mental illnesses. This relays to the ignorance and stigma towards the mentally ill. Saying this to a person can make them feel even more small and helpless, which are two things they DON’T need. Sure, it may be “odd” to you seeing a 22+ year old on the ground in a panic (maybe some screams included), but pushing them down when they need to be lifted up is the worst thing you can do. Also, several people have specific things that trigger them.. don’t make fun of them for not being able to swallow a pill, ride an escalator, go into crowds, etc. It’s beyond their control.
“Everyone Freaks Out About Things..”
Yeah, some people get nervous for a job interview or a first date.. but that is not an ongoing mental illness. The average persons “freak out” is a 2 on our scale of 10. We know that nobody is completely worry free. Although you may be trying to calm us down and make us feel “just like everybody else”, it’s unfortunately not working.
“What Do You Want Me To Do?”
Just be there to hold our hand and help us come out of whatever if happening. Asking us what to do can push us deeper into a panic or depression, because we don’t even know what to do. Just keep telling us it will be okay. Knowing you are there for us is good enough most of the time.
“I Thought You Were Over This?”
There are good times and really bad times with mental illness. You can go years, months or weeks with nothing going wrong and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are completely debilitated. So no, unfortunately the “over this” was only temporary. It can always creep back on you. It doesn’t mean it will ruin you forever, but there will be times worse than others. Be patient and accept us during this time.
Never stop fighting for our acceptance in society. It will get easier.
Don’t forget to laugh and smile and be beautifully you.
If you need help.. get help. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s like going to the doctor for the flu.
Thanks for reading and helping to end the stigma.