Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What NOT to say to someone with a mental illness

A while ago I wrote a post about using mental illnesses as adjectives, if you haven't read it then feel free to click here.... Along a similar vein I thought I'd write a list of the things that (imo) are the WORST things to say to someone with a mental illness, whether coming from a professional, friend/family member or just a random person on the street. And like last time I've included some alternative things that (again IMO) most people with a mental illness wouldn't

"You could try harder"- If your opinion is that I could try harder, that I have an ounce of energy left to try any harder, then you are more than welcome to spend a minute in my head... try and see how you cope and THEN and tell me I could try harder. K?
"I understand"- only to be followed by saying or doing something that proves they really truly don't understand. I don't expect people to fully or even slightly understand. I don't understand sometimes. If people don't understand they shouldn't be afraid to say so and they most certainly shouldn't say they do understand and then say something completely moronic about mental illness making the other person possibly feel even more isolated, misunderstood and alone.
"I know how you feel I was a bit sad once...."- A bit sad does not equal depressed, depressed does not always equal depression.
"If you do xyz you WILL be fixed" We've all met those people who think they know it all and whilst I  appreciate the sentiment,  just telling me to eat a pie and my depression/ED will be 'fixed' after I've just sat and tried to explain about my mental state is not helpful. If it was as simple as that then I would do it in a heartbeat.

Yep....Easy as that....
"As you haven't done xyz you obviously like being like this" How are you not making millions from your mind reading skills.... So if I didn't eat the pie I obviously don't want to get better? Yes because mental illness is as fucking simplistic as that...
"You asked for it/It's your fault" similar to above, mainly in relation to EDs. I have come across a lot of blame in my time from people, with all of the illnesses I've suffered from both physical and mental. But obviously mainly people think that because an ED is 'a choice' the consequences I've suffered are therefore my fault. Even not just the consequences, ANYTHING that can or can't be blamed on the ED WILL be blamed on the ED, got a cold, well its my fault, fall down the stairs its my fault, an anvil falls from the sky, its my fault. and yes it IS my fault. All those nights as a child I spent wishing and dreaming of a life with chronic physical and mental illness dammit WHAT WAS I THINKING.

"How are you?"- Ah now don't be fooled by this. This is not as it seems, I call this the robot question. This is asked not because they're making conversation or they actually want to know how you are. They're doing it out of obligation, duty, guilt, autopilot,WHATEVER.See, robot question. I could answer I'm green and masturbating to panda porn* right now so pretty good. And the response would be "sounds cool speak soon". If you don't actually give a shit about how I'm doing or feeling, don't waste my time or yours. I'm not expecting you to listen to all my woes any problems. But believe it or not, I am able to hold a conversation, I have a sense of humour (debatable) so why not open your brain enough to have a real conversation with me?
*I would just like to point out that I have no 'special' feelings towards pandas or animals in general.

 "You look healthier" obviously this is in regards to someone with an ED, but commenting on someones weight should NEVER be socially acceptable, and for some reason when you've got an ED people think they have a right to say whatever the hell they like to you. Whilst not directly about weight, for most people with an ED telling them they look healthy/healthier is like the kiss of death.
"There's people far worse off than you" No shit Sherlock...
"But what do you have to be depressed about"- Funny mental illness doesn't really cherry pick and sometimes there doesn't even need to be a reason for people to suffer from depression. STRANGE THAT,  ISN'T IT.
"Smile"- From complete random strangers, or "cheer up love it might never happen" to which the only response is "fuck off 'love' it already has" or a simple one of these.... either works well

Things that might actually be worth saying
"How are things going? Even if I can't help I'm here to talk and listen and be there for you"
"I can't imagine how hard things are for you but I'm so proud of how you are coping." Although some people struggle with praise so this depends on the individual.
"I will always fight for you I will never give up no matter what. Because I love you." obviously if this comes from a medical professional then it would be on the above list.Whether someone's been ill for a week, a month, a year, ten or fifty, no one deserves to have people turn their back on them. To accept that they have no hope, that they're gone. If someone is ill and everyone around them has given up on them what message does that send to them
These last two are specific to a certain someone (me) with a mental illness
"Here's your license back Charlotte"  if the DVLA would say that to me it would really make me fucking happy as then I could get my car and actually have some freedom and independence
"you can have a puppy" well that's always going to make someones heart smile......
The most important thing is that even if you don't know what to say or do you don't run away or give up on someone because of mental illness. It's hard enough what they're going through without having to go through it alone.

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Nail of the Day
So I got a clip on macro lens for my phone and naturally I had to showcase my favourite nail varnish, Essie H'ors Durvers (no matter how many times I write that I always have to google how to spell it)

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