1. Stop assuming everyone who skips school or doesn’t come to work is just lazy or doesn’t give a shit. Some of us people with depression have a hard time even getting out of bed and you making nasty comments about us being “lazy” only makes it worse.
2. I know I overreact. I know I’m too sensitive. I know I make things difficult. I know all of these things make you uncomfortable and inconvenience you but maybe just take a second to think about how much they impact me.
3. We know we are acting irrational, but its not something we could help. Especially if its something like ptsd or anxiety. Somedays are just harder than others, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying. Just being their for us is enough and we appreciate it so much.
4. Stop trying to get me to try “cures” that are unevidenced. I’m fine with medication and therapy.
5. You can’t just tell a depressed person to go out and talk to people and have fun.
Depression KILLS THE WILL TO DO ANYTHING.
6. Most people don’t see mental illness until it has manifested itself outwardly. You know, the homeless guy yelling at a trash can type of thing.
Realize that you are looking at the extreme end, thinking that is what mental illness is, is like thinking someone with 90% of their skin scorched off is what a burn looks like.
7. It hurts to know that you can’t trust anyone. You never know when someone is going to sell your secrets and tell everyone about that one thing you did when you were extremely ill just for some karma. You hear stories of crazy people doing weird things and know that some day you might be the crazy person people talk about for morbidness. And to get better you always need to trust nurses and doctors, and yourself. And that’s hard to do when you’re seen as an anecdote and not as a person.
8. Please don’t ridicule me for my coping mechanisms. I like to color to help ignore thoughts. If I’m doing that instead of due tasks then I’m really struggling.
9. We know that sometimes you don’t understand us, but please consider that sometimes we don’t understand either. As hard as it is for you, imagine how hard it is for the person suffering through it. I don’t know why I have to flatten out every single wrinkle in the sheet before I sleep, and I know my boyfriend is tired and wants to go to bed too, but if I don’t, I won’t be able to sleep and will be itchy all night. We’re doing our best, please just be patient with us.
10. Adhd exists. Its not just being hyper or a condition therapists invented. If I was diagnosed as a kid I might have gotten on my meds sooner and finish high school.
11. Intrusive thoughts are exactly that. Intrusive. The amount of times people have told me to just shrug it off or not think about it is annoying.
12. Therapy isn’t only for the mentally ill, nor is it a cash grab. Therapy WORKS. Not every therapist’s the same either, so while some may not work for you, others will. Therapy works.
13. Everyone is unique and so is their experience with mental illness. No two people with depression will experience the same thing nor will two people with anxiety react the same way to the same things.
14. Just because someone looks okay doesn’t mean they are okay.
I have a full time job. I have a house. I have a decent wage and I’m doing okay for my age.
I also have borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, possibly ptsd, and traits of other personality disorders.
I appear to function on the outside, but inside I struggle every day. I co-own my house with my dad, and despite living with me even he thinks I’m okay.
People who are suffering often bottle it up in an attempt to not be a burden or to just try and get on with life, but it wears them down.
Reach out to your friends and ask how they are. Let them know you’re there for them. And if they disclose they have a certain disorder, do a little research
Think about how it affects them rather than how it affects you.
You can’t make them talk to you but you can show them you’re there.
15. I am not my mental illness. Do not see me as, “That depressed kid,” see me for who I am. There is so much more to a person than their mental state.
And mental illness can affect anyone. Age, race and gender have nothing to do with it (except for gender dysphoria). A four year old can experience PTSD and so can a thirty year old. It’s all about environment.
16. Don’t stray away from a person if they confessed their struggles to you. They’re probably in a very difficult situation and trust you enough to tell you about it. You should get informed about their mental illness and try to fix it with them. Or just be supportive at least or get someone who can help more than you involved but I just beg you don’t under any circumstances stray away from them.
17. As someone who struggles with PTSD, I would like to say that I don’t choose to be as repetitive and exhausting as I can be. I will react the same way to the same situation because that is an association that has been with me for half my life. It’s very difficult to keep opening up to friends without feeling like a burden because you cannot cope with the same thing as last week. They have heard me talk about it so often and given me several pieces of advice on it and I hate feeling like this broken record, but to me that is a core part of this disorder.
18. People are coping the best way they can based on their experience. For example, someone who yells and turns people away can just be trying to comfort themselves based on past experience of letting someone in and being hurt by it.
Treatment is about learning new coping skills that will give people comfort that also gives them other things they need in their life (relationships, stability, etc.)
19. Physical therapy is seen as a regular part of recovery from of any serious injury. There’s no stigma attached for someone in a cast or a wheelchair to see a physical therapist.
Mental health counseling should be considered in the same light.
20. What goes on in our mind we cannot control. The thoughts, compulsions, panics that just appear we cannot preempt or stop. We all can, however, work hard to recover. We can seek help, get medicine, use coping mechanisms that will help us control how we act and react. But nobody can ever convince me we can just stop thinking the things that pop into our brains.
21. If you wish to understand someone with a mental health condition please educate yourself and research the condition. I have a lot of people who claim to know and try to give advice.
Once you’ve worked with professionals the average persons advice can become awkward and patronizing at times.
Learn before you weigh in. It’s a very sensitive subject and would go some way to lessening the stigma if more people educated themselves.
22. Mental illness can happen to anyone, literally. It’s as common as physical illnesses like the common cold. Part of removing the stigma is to talk more openly about it, to stop the whole “hush-hush, behind closed doors” thing. Anxiety and depression are among the most common, and lately I’ve seen a rise in eating disorders (looking at you, influencers who promote body dysmorphia with plastic surgery they claim is achievable with diet and exercise, and especially influencers who push intense diets and weight loss products. You are literally causing damage to people with your pursuit of fame and money).
Bipolar, schizophrenia and personality disorders are treatable. They’re not something to fear. Important to note too, that personality disorders can be incredibly mild, and don’t necessarily need treatment unless it impacts your life negatively.
23. You’re dealing with people who are essentially running with one leg in a two legged race. The bar for success for the mentally ill is much different than everyone else. For instance, someone suffering from severe depression making it to old age is sometimes a great feat… It certainly kills many before they get there.
24. There is literally nothing wrong with having to take medication for a mental illness. It doesn’t mean you’re creating “artificial happiness” or a dependency issue. You’re correcting your brain’s shortcomings with the resources that you have available. We do what we have to do to improve our mental health.
25. As someone with bipolar, I always compare it to diabetes.
It’s a lifelong condition, usually managed by medication though occasionally people manage without. The medication isn’t always perfect, so you have to let those around you know the warning signs. If you ignore / stop taking your meds suddenly, you will have serious problems and may embarrass yourself in public.
Sadly, I’ve recently had to add an extra section to my explanation as part of an apology. If you’re a diabetic in hospital waiting for your foot to be amputated, even if you took your meds perfectly, you get limited sympathy if you spent every weekend stuffing yourself with cake. For bipolar, the equivalent tends to be booze / drugs, and god damn is the level of substance abuse high amongst us.
26. Please don’t say you have depression just because you feel sad once in a while. It’s a real mental illness and not something teenagers should normalize to make themselves feel part of a smaller group of people.
Same goes for OCD. You don’t have OCD if you want to arrange shit, OCD is far more serious than that.
27. Don’t be afraid of us. Show care and kindness to an ill person instead of trepidation and they will 100% appreciate it. Take the time to make your own opinion of somebody before automatically accepting the harsh assumptions and stereotypes that are associated with a particular mental illness.
28. Nobody can continuously move upwards. If you go back a few steps, that doesn’t mean you didn’t go up those steps in the first place. You’ve done it before and you can do it again. Stagnating or even regressing is perfectly normal, entirely human and expecting otherwise is irrational. The sooner you realize that the sooner you’ll be able to put the breaks on how hard you’re crashing and start working on going back up those steps and further.
29. People with personality disorders are not inherently abusive or bad, “crazy” people.
30. Talk about it. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among teenagers and young adults, so they are a big clientele to reach. But also middle-aged people are at high risk, especially men.
You can share articles that talk positively about mental illness and recovery, along with being active in foundations for suicide prevention like the AFSP in the US, the NSPA in UK or whichever it is in your country.
Most importantly, if you know someone who is feeling down or has suicidal thoughts, the best thing you can do to help is listen and ask directly “Do you have suicidal thoughts?”. This leaves them with a simple yes or no question, so they aren’t the one who have to “say it out loud”. Don’t panic when someone says “yes”! You can have suicidal thoughts without wanting to actively take your life,; they are a coping mechanism for underlying issues. If you think you can handle it, ask how persistent they are, if they can distance themselves from those thoughts or if they have a plan on how to take their life. Make sure to use the word “suicide” or any phrases without a negative connotation (see: “killing yourself”).
Don’t give advice: Just actively listen and comfort them in a way that doesn’t make them feel trivialized or judged. Staying away from any moral judgements (regarding their feelings) is very important! Also, you can offer to support them when they plan to get treatment, like accompanying them when going to the doctor, figuring out who to call and so on. There are also some chat or mail-based counseling options if speaking in person or on the phone is too much for them.