UNEXPECTED ROADBLOCKS IN EXPLAINING MENTAL ILLNESS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HAD IT
I've grown up thinking about and working to understand mental illnesses and how different people are affected by them, so it's been somewhat shocking to me to realize that not everyone can understand just what having a mental illness means
- •"Stop."I've hit this one several times now. When I get depressed I'll eventually try to pull myself out of it by talking until something I say makes sense. Most of what comes out of my mouth isn't what I actually believe or want to be true. I know not to hold myself to these things, but when you're telling someone your ridiculous, paranoid fears or the stupid little negative thoughts that bug you all day their reaction just might be "stop that." "Don't say things like that."
- •"You just need to worry less."Would if I could there, bud. Unfortunately the off switch does not exist. You can't tell paralyzed people to just try moving a bit.
- •"You're not alone you know."To someone who hasn't experienced it, depression or anxiety are things every body goes through and can get over and move on from. I've been told that it's not as big a deal as I think it is, since I'm not the only one who gets this way. The difference being people like me don't get over it in a day, or sometimes even a week or month.
- •Telling you reasonable and logical things to dissuade you from being anxiousI once sat in my boyfriend's room sobbing because I couldn't get myself to go upstairs and hang out with his roommates. I didn't know them well enough to be comfortable and I was terrified of having to talk to be around them. He told me over and over, they like you, they want to hang out with you, and got frustrated when I didn't believe him.
- •Mistaking a good mood for maniaWhen you're frequently low energy it can be surprising to those around you to see you at an average energy, and when you feel okay and stable they ask you if you might need to tone it down. Should you let that affect you, you may fall down, down, downnnnnn
- •Mistaking a good mood for an actWhen you're down one minute and get cheered up the next, or manage to put on a good face for company/peers/a meeting, the validity of your mood is not offensively called into question. It's more like ".... Aren't you supposed to be sad? You were just telling me how sad you are."
- •I am very lucky to have caring and supportive people in my life. We work to understand and help each other every day.Except some days I am the wooooooorst and explaining why leaves us both confused and frustrated.