Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mental Illness: The worst things to say

Unfortunately, the 'well population' just doesn’t understand what it is to be unwell. They demonstrate this heartily by repeatedly saying the worst things possible to a person with a mental illness.

Worst Things to Say to a Person With a Mental Illness
  1. Snap out of it
  2. There are a lot of people worse off than you
  3. You have so many things to be thankful for, how can you be depressed?
  4. You’d feel better if you got off all those pills
  5. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger
  6. Go out and have some fun
  7. I know how you feel
  8. So you’re depressed, aren’t you always?
  9. This too shall pass
  10. We all have our crosses to bear
And as a bonus, my personal favorite: We create our own reality. Ugh!

Why These are Stupid Things to Say

megaphoneAny of those statements demonstrates a severe lack of knowledge about the condition being addressed and will prompt a response of "You have no idea what you’re talking about!"

You fundamentally do not understand the concept of an illness if you think any one of these are appropriate.

Try saying the same tyoe of thing about other disorders and see how you feel:
Hey, diabetic, snap out of it.
Hey, epileptic, I know how you feel.
Hey, paraplegic, so you can’t use your legs, isn’t that always the case?
Hey, person with multiple sclerosis, we create our own reality.

Get the idea?  No one would think that is reasonable, and it’s no more reasonable just because you can’t see the illness because it’s in my brain.

These Are Hurtful Things to Say

And perhaps worse than showing ignorance, these things even inflict pain on the person you’re trying to “help”. You are saying that:
  1. They could choose not to be sick if they really wanted
  2. Their illness is not serious
  3. They have no “reason” to be ill
  4. Their treatment is wrong
  5. They’ll be better off from it
  6. They would be fine if they would just “go out”
  7. Their illness is minimal
  8. Their pain doesn’t matter
  9. They should just wait for the pain to end
  10. Their illness is just like anyone else’s problem
  11. They choose to be sick

And lest we forget, the mentally ill person in front of you is already probably feeling very bad about themselves, and you have now chosen to go and make it worse for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment