#mentalhealthmonday – never say these things

Hello hello! I wasn’t quite sure what to write for this week’s Mental Health Monday, but then I mentioned on Instagram that I’d been feeling a bit down recently. (Nothing too bad, just stress, mainly.) This led to someone very kindly saying one of the most annoying things you can say to someone with a mental illness:

  • Cheer up

That made me think – what else have people said to me, in the hopes of making me feel better? So here’s a list of some of the well-meant but ultimately annoying things that people have said to me:

  • I know how you feel
  • It’s all in your head
  • Just go outside/eat healthy/take supplements
  • Stop worrying
  • Think about all the people who have real problems
  • Have you tried… (meditating, yoga, mindfulness, colouring etc.)
  • Oh no! I thought you were cured!

In my experience, every one of these things inevitably made me feel worse. Because yes, I have tried all of those things – and others! But I’ve not been ‘cured’. This tends to make me wonder why these haven’t worked, what is wrong with me, that medication, therapy, and a variety of mindfulness exercises don’t work? For me, it causes a sort of meta-anxiety. I start to worry about the fact that I’m worrying.

And finally – yes, I know that it is all in my head!

giphy14.gif

Next week I’m going to talk about the things that you could say or do that may actually help people with mental illnesses. As per usual, this will be from my experience. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

Finally – if there are any questions you have for me, I was thinking about doing a Q&A about mental health for one of my next Mental Health Mondays. No question is too large or too small! If you want to ask anonymously, that’s fine too. 🙂

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18 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – never say these things

  1. Jupiter Brown says:

    Cured?? Are you kidding me? That’s so ridiculous. However, may I add one I’ve heard quite often? “Trust the Lord.” And it’s counterpart, “When God is in control, how could anyone be depressed/anxious/etc?”

    However, your comment that “I know it’s in my head!” made me giggle a bit. Just cause it IS in our heads doesn’t make it less real, so I’m making a book rec based on that (I just posted the review on my bog): Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. The protagonist has a mental illness called “hyperempathy syndrome” in which her brain is wired to synthesize both pain and pleasure that she sees or is around her.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Oh yes, that’s one I’ve been given too. I’m an agnostic so that annoys me on a couple of different levels!!
      Haha I’m glad it did – I have ALWAYS wanted to use that gif when talking about mental health!
      And ooooooh!! I adore Octavia Butler and that sounds fascinating! Will be checking out your review ASAP 😀

      Like

  2. Ceillie Simkiss says:

    All of these make me feel so inherently stabby. I had one of my dad’s friends tell me that both my ADHD and autism could be cured by essential oils and drumming, and I had to fight the urge not to tell her to shove her drums up her ass. I still wish I had, but that wouldn’t be great for her relationship with my dad.

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    • whatthelog says:

      OH MY GOD. You have far more self-restraint than I do. That’s such an awful thing to say. I do have people in my life who are into crystals and oils and things, but luckily they’ve never tried to use those to ‘help’ with my mental health.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ceillie Simkiss says:

        She said the same thing to my mom when she had cancer, and my mom gave her a glorious tongue lashing, far better than I could ever have done. I don’t mind people being into things like that – if it helps you, great! – but…. it isn’t gonna cure me, especially if I’m not even close to believing in it in the first place.

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  3. xtine says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing a post like this one, because there are so many things people have said to me over the years that, regardless of intent, actually made me feel worse. Even people who love me and care about me and want me to feel better have said some pretty messed up things. I guess being around a depressed/anxious/etc person is really frustrating? I think the worst thing anyone has ever said to me is some variation of “well, you have to want to feel better” or basically anything implying that I’m not trying hard enough to get better. People who aren’t going through depression have no idea that every single day is a battle sometimes, but they can’t see what’s happening because it’s literally a battle inside my own head.

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s great to feel like I’m not alone. Fingers crossed that things will get better for you soon ❤

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    • whatthelog says:

      You definitely should – there are never enough good posts about mental health!
      I agree that it can be frustrating. My anxiety and depression frustrates me, so I can’t even imagine what it does to my friends and family. However, they are thankfully the type of people who don’t mind having the same conversation over and over again.
      I’ve never actually been told that one, but I totally get why that would be extremely annoying, as well as insulting. You’re right, because it is in your head, no one knows how hard you try, every single day. I wish people could.

      I’m so glad – that’s why I write these posts. All my love to you too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Grab the Lapels says:

    I’m behind on my blog reading, but I don’t want to skip anyone’s posts, so I’ve decided to be okay with always being behind the conversation. One thing that people say to me that I NEVER thought would be a problem in the past but now is: HOW WAS YOUR DAY.

    OH.
    MY.
    GOD.

    That question can make me crumple into a little pile of Me Poo. Sometimes the words I want to say WILL NOT come out. Sometimes I sit there in silence because I had so many thoughts and feelings and they won’t come out. None of them are simple. They are all wrapped up and layered and too sticky to pull apart. Not being able to ask that simple, all-American question of “How was your day?” the cornerstone of dinner small talk, makes me feel so inept. Here’s a question that’s useful, one that I’ve trained my husband to ask me:

    WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY?

    It’s okay for me to say “no.” This may mean I’m not ready, or that I need time to process what the hell even happened that day. Usually, give me a few hours and I’m happy to go over everything, even the really tough stuff.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Oh my GOD yes! Asking ‘would you like to talk about it’ is a really good alternative, I might have to take that up.

      My particular version of that problematic question is ‘How are you?’ because I always MEAN to say ‘fine’, but always end up saying something like ‘casually wanna die, other than that, I’m doing okay’. Which is not acceptable to say to someone you’ve just met!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Thank you soooo much for this post! As someone who has many close friends and family suffering from mental illness, I am often left without knowing what to say. I look forward to your next post to help me with that.

    The reason I end up saying some of the dumb things you listed above is because I *want* to help, but I don’t know how. So, I just speak instead of thinking. I never mean to be cruel or cause more harm, but I know it happens. I will do my best to be more conscious of the words I am saying, for sure.

    Like

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