Mental illness can be difficult to explain and understand. It sucks when your loved ones just don’t seem to comprehend how they work. For all you people out there who don’t get it and want to avoid putting your foot in your mouth, here are 6 things you should never say to someone with a mental illness.
Just Pray About It
I have had someone say this to me. My depression was so bad but because we knew each other through church, everything was God this and God that. How about telling me to go see a professional? Honestly, what if I was an atheist? What would you tell me then?
Telling someone to just pray about it is wrong. Telling someone (who is religious) to pray about it and seek professional help is ultimately what you should do. To all my religious folk, yes, God works miracles, but God wants you to get proper professional help.
You’re Too Young To Be Depressed
Just because I’m young the world is full of diamonds and sprinkles? Was it like that for you? Rhetorical. I know it wasn’t because life is not a fairytale story. Also, if the world was spring daisies and birthday cakes for you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
First of all, no matter what tone you say this in, it is condescending AF. You don’t know what people are facing every day. Just because someone is young does not mean they don’t have a care in the world. The world is full of triggers. Adulting is always going to be hard. There are new challenges to face every single day. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.
Other People Have It Worse Than You
Yes, I know there are starving people. Yes, I know people are dying from terrible diseases. Yes, I know polio is going on a comeback tour. Telling someone with a mental illness that other people have it worse is disgusting. It actually makes them feel 10 times worse than they already do. Also, it makes them regret ever telling you about something so personal. Great job at being their confidant.
You Need A New Hobby
This is completely dismissive. It is also an air-headed thing to say. You honestly think if I take up knitting, my mental illness will just quit its job and I’ll be cured? Taking up a hobby is a great thing to do, however, it is not the solution. Suggesting that it is, is so irresponsible.
Just Think Positive
Oh yes, positive thinking. Why didn’t I think of that. Of course, positive thinking will cure me of my mental illness. Seriously, telling someone to think positively sounds like a naive attempt at a quick fix. Clearly the solution is, if I think positively, It will stop the negative thoughts in their tracks and I will be just fine. This is so wrong on so many levels. It’s always good to think positively but you also have to be realistic.
Just Don’t Think About It
If someone had their foot chopped off and they are in pain, are you going to tell them to just not think about their bloody, painful foot? No, you are going to get them to a doctor so he can help them. If someone tells you about their mental illness, you should tell them to seek the help of a professional. Just because you don’t think about something, doesn’t make it less real.