Mental illness: Things not to say

It is mental illness awareness week October 6-12 and so I thought before World Mental Health day Oct 10 I would write a post about mental illness.

And you know I have been in an emotional and mental funk lately. I blame it on the time of year. Always seems to hit this time of year even though I know there are external factors and health factors that are contributing to it. Sometimes with mental illness, even treated, we have to deal with these slumps and find ways to try and stabilize ourselves. I know my darker cynical self is showing itself because I have been reading this free self-help book I had gotten with my tablet. And I hate it. Loathe it maybe is a better term. It is inane, useless brain fluff. It is positivity wrapped in crap. And I know if I were not in this slump I would likely think something similar but maybe get something from it… maybe but I wouldn’t be so brutally dark when I think about how asinine it is. And that is how your brain begins to roll… on the dark side.

Mental illness: Things not to say

Things not to say to someone with a mental illness

  1. You’re crazy. And therefore I will avoid you because crazy people are unpredictable.
  2. You just do not want to participate in society so you are avoiding life.
  3. You’re lazy
  4. Just smile more
  5. Just be more positive about your life and it will change. Like send out some care bear stare happy vibes or something. And then like positiveness will absorb into you.
  6. Mental illness doesn’t even exist. It is just a social construct so you just need to engage in the world more. This shitty shitty world that is likely adding to your misery… engage in that crapstorm more.
  7. Pray more. And I will pray for you. And a whole lot of praying will go on. And if that doesn’t work… you didn’t pray enough.
  8. Can’t you just Try to be Happy?
  9. Maybe it is just your personality. Maybe you are just a melancholy person. Maybe you are just a nervous anxious sort of person.
  10. You’re weak. And if you need help then you are even weaker. Fix yourself.
  11. The universe gives you what you ask for. You just have to will good things for yourself. So stop what You are doing and Will good things. I mean, really.
  12. I feel anxious sometimes. Or a little blue. We all do. You’re not special. Just snap out of it. Have a bath or something. Have you tried… yoga?
  13. You think you’re special? No one is happy. Suck it up. Grow up. And be miserable like the rest of us.

I have a mental illness

But seriously mental illness stigma is pervasive

I knew a co-worker that was called behind her back as lazy and crazy and abusing the system… because of her Major Depressive Disorder. And imagine how that made me feel being seriously depressed as well… like I was weak and needed to handle it myself. Which I did… for a time… but all things break eventually.

I have Major Depressive Disorder. I have had two major episodes of it in my lifetime and currently in one being treated by medication. And I am not ashamed of it. I know much of it has to do with chronic pain and coping with pain and all its aspects. And some of it is just me and genetics and other factors. Either way, it is a beast of a disease to have. It lies and it deceives and it steals a lot of your life.

We beat ourselves up a lot. And we internalize the stigma we come across easily because we already beat ourselves up… so that stigma just adds onto what we already think must be true. We do not need people’s stigma. We already do it to ourselves. But, hey, thanks for making it worse. Loads of help that is.

So we need to talk about awareness during these times. So people grasp that mental illness isn’t something we control. It is a rough ride and a very hard battle. We didn’t choose this hell. And we do not appreciate people making it worse either.

Be there for someone. Listen. Just listen. Maybe you don’t get it. But at least you are there for them and that means more than you will ever comprehend.

See more

Mental illness stigma thoughts

Self-stigma- the story we tell ourselves often isn’t true

Mental illness: The eternal return
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

This caught my eye- for maybe someone who is new to depression from the reviews. But still, it did catch my eye.

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16 comments

  1. How odd, i heard at least half of those in some for or another when I came back from the war. One that you did miss. My people told me NOT to seek help because I’d be labeled crazy! My response was if I am, i want to know, then maybe we can do something about it. In my case a lot of talking and digging (and telling a few people where to go and how to get there) helped take care of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did forget that one. Maybe because I had that one in my own head… if I seek help with suicidal thoughts they will lock me up and throw away the key. I didn’t want that. And actually even when I went to therapy I was very aware of what I could and couldn’t say. But then later I realized they make a distinction between ideation and intent… although at one time or another I have had both. Either way, my own fear kept me away for some time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my case, i had to talk about it. I thank God every day for Joseph. He was an Ex SEAL team medic so understood soldiers and what they go through. It was still like pulling teeth for him to get me to talk, but one day we got on a topic and the next thing I knew, I was crying like a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Destroying the stigma around mental health is critical to people being able to get the care they need. If someone broke their arm nobody would look at them and say “You’re weak. And if you need help then you are even weaker” or encourage them not to seek help. Even if it’s not visible to the naked eye, mental illness is a medical condition that is just as real as that broken arm is.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree. The trouble is today, it’s really easy for life to beat you up. At the very least, talking about how life has hurt you can be healing. Sometimes it’s an action. There’s a guy in the town/county where i was a police officer named Cano. Cano is one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. he Graduated top of his class (straight A student). he got drafted, went to ‘Nam, and became a tunnel rat. Having crawled through a few tunnels, I can understand what he went through. He got into drugs in ‘Nam and came home someone no one could understand. oddly, he and I always got along. if he had to be arrested, he often asked for me to be the guy who put the cuffs on.

      People were very much afraid of him because he was “Different.” I preferred to think of him as a good person who had terrible things happen to (he’d give you the shirt of his back if you needed it).
      One day I ran into him, of all places, at the county dump. He was getting old doors and lumber people had tossed away and loading it up on his pickup. I helped him load some, and never bothered asking what he was doing.

      In his back yard, a building began to rise, and eventually curiosity got the better of me. I asked him what he was building. He told me he was building a castle so Jesus could stay in it when he returned. That’s cool, i thought.
      But while he was waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus, we got the Second Coming of Cano. Building the castle got him off dope, fot him focused, and we began to see the guy who left for ‘Nam. Today, he’s a leader in the community, and ahero to the next generation. He works to keep them off dope, and pursue their dreams. I guess you could say in his weakness, and looking for God, he found his strength. Google “Cano’s Castle” and you can see what he did.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Nikki, I love your honesty in tackling the real issues. This ilness is a big stealer of our lives. Not just the people who have it but those who love them. Many of the people I have loved have struggled with this and some have lost the battle. No one really understands unless they have been to the bottom of the pit. I will be sharing your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. People who have never experienced mental illness have no clue what it’s like. You know you need help but the help seems more like tough love parenting which doesn’t help. There are so many things that people with mental illness fear and one we fear most is losing your ordinary life because people believe that a mental illness equates to instability, non functioning, a risk to society. Mental illness is as much an illness as Cancer Diabetes heart disease and yet when have no doubts about whether they are stable. The silence is only going to be overcome if people stand up and fight and we need doctors and dr who treat mental illness to tell the truth. Debunk the myth that all mental illness equal instability or at risk. Let’s help people who need help and stop marginalizing those who suffer with this terrible disease

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I nodded along to all of these. Had a few said to me, too. Some people can be incredible ignorant, others very offensive, and then there are those that mean well but end up causing hurt. A little more compassion, understanding and listening can go a long way. Great post, Nikki.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with this post wholeheartedly. Mental health is as real as physical health. It doesn’t make sense to me – if some people are willing to accept that illnesses unable to be known by their physical characteristics are real (chronic pain, chronic fatigue for example) – why not the invisibility of mental illness being just as painful (or worse)?

    People really can be clueless and it’s devastating to the lives they affect. Suicides have been carried through due to cruel and heartless comments. 😥 I do know some people mean well. I am very patient with such individuals. When people know better, they do better typically. It’s the truly hateful people that make me want to say very bad things 😀

    I am so sorry this horrendous disease has afflicted your life. But I am grateful for your life and the way for which you care for others. Your blog is a help and an inspiration to many. I do believe in prayer and I pray that this day brings you much more peace, healing and a far brighter tomorrow. ♥

    Thank you for sharing this incredible post about mental health awareness and for educating so many who don’t know any better. Blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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