People with mental health problems have probably heard it all. “Just smile.” “Just stop thinking about it.” “Just go to bed early.” Here’s a little list of what you could not say to someone who may be struggling. I’ve written these down from things people have said to me, or things I know other people have heard.
1. But why are you anxious?
We don’t always know. Really. It can be annoying, we know, but sometimes the anxiety just hits us for an unknown reason.
2. Just stop being anxious.
Cured us right there! Not. If only it was that easy!
3. Why don’t you just come out with us? You’re so boring.
We don’t necessarily enjoy sitting in our rooms all day, but sometimes facing the outside world is just a no for us. Perhaps seeing just a small group of people indoors at first and gradually getting our guts up to leave the house would be easier.
4. You’re just being silly.
What might seem silly to you could seem like the end of the world to us. Sometimes, just stepping into a shop can make us anxious. Give us time.
1. Why are you sad?
We don’t always know. Seriously.
2. You have nothing to be depressed about.
Maybe not. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have depression. It can be a chemical imbalance in the brain. We don’t want to be like this. We didn’t ask to be like this. And to be honest, you don’t always know what a person has going on in her life behind closed doors. People with depression are often good actors; we can act totally fine when we’re actually not.
3. Just think happy thoughts.
Well, why didn’t I think of that in the first place? No. It. Does not. Work like that.
4. You seem happy today. Are you cured?
We are allowed to be happy and have depression. Having depression doesn’t mean I have to be sad 24/7. I can still have a laugh, I can still smile. I can still try and have fun!
5. Depression isn’t real. It’s just in your head.
Yes, it is in my head, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Depression is a medically-diagnosed illness. It is very real!
6. You seem a bit sad today. Did you forget to take your medication?
Yes, I have heard this one before. It does not work like that. I can still have bad or good days while I am taking my medication. I don’t get 100 percent better as soon as I start my tablets, and if I miss a dose it doesn’t mean I will sit and cry all day.
It can hurt to hear things like this. You might not think it would, but it often does. We may not act like it does, but it can circle in our heads for a long time. If you don’t understand, maybe it’s best not to say what you think, or do some research. Just try to be a bit sensitive.
Image via Thinkstock.
Follow this journey on Fish Out of Water 96.