1. I don’t get to choose what I am anxious about.
2. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to do little things!!! Just because I’m not feeling up to it today doesn’t mean I’m lazy or unambitious or whatnot. Sometimes, I’m just drained mentally and emotionally.
3. Depression isn’t sadness. If I had to describe it, it’s like a constant feeling of despair, exhaustion, and lack of fulfillment.
4. I don’t have to be crying 24/7 to still be clinically depressed. Yes, I will have a laugh, smile, and show other emotions from time to time, but it doesn’t mean I am better or have been overdramatic.
5. I swear I AM trying. My best looks different than yours.
6. “Do what you love!” is a useless statement when you don’t love anything. Same with “What do you enjoy?” or “Do what makes you happy!” If you actually enjoy things or experience happiness we’re on whole different levels. It really just stings when I get garbage like that said to me. Like thanks for reminding me I can’t experience joy or anything close to it.
7. If I’m having a nice day, if I’m enjoying myself, please don’t come at me saying, “See, that wasn’t so hard!” because you’ll literally ruin everything. There are moments in which I just want to forget how I feel and not to think about me as a “walking-mental-illness,” so please stop associating everything I do with it. If I’m having a nice day, don’t talk about my pain, don’t remind me. Because it’s still there, just hidden, so don’t bring that up.
8. Mental disorders are not always beautiful or sympathetic like you see in the movies. People who have mental disorders will do things that are annoying, scary, disgusting, or disturbing.
Don’t expect us to behave normally with a small side of sadness. That’s not how mental disorders work. And if we do something that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t tell us, “You’re being crazy!”
Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. Of course I’m acting crazy. Did you think mental disorders made people act normal and rational?
9. I don’t take anti-depressants to be happy, I take them to not want to kill myself.
10. Medication is a necessity for some people, if someone you know and love is on medication do not judge them, do not tell them to stop taking their meds, do not tell them that they seem fine and don’t need meds, it’s their choice, respect their choice. Likewise if someone doesn’t want medication, no matter how much you think they need it support their decision.
11. I desperately want to not be difficult, but I’m probably always going to be difficult to love.
12. OCD is not anything like what you think it is. It’s not a preference for order, or a need to clean, or a desire to alphabetize. My mind is broken. It’s a handicap. It’s not cute.
13. This might be more trauma related than mental illness related, but if someone tells you they don’t have a relationship with their parent(s) anymore, appropriate responses are not:
But it’s your mother/father!
You’ll regret that when they’re gone.
I couldn’t imagine not speaking to my father/mother.
You only get one parent, you know.
It’s the holidays! Why don’t you call and make up?
Just in general, if you wouldn’t tell an abused person this advice about their abuser, don’t say it to someone with no relationship with their parents.
14. People with mental health issues are good at hiding how they feel. Usually these people use humor to put up with thoughts and feelings. So next time you hear someone joking about depression, they probably have experienced it.
15. I’m not sure how many people know this, but eating disorders and starving yourself can often be a form of self harm/slow deliberate suicide versus actually caring much what your body looks like or what men/women find attractive.
16. Suicide is not an option people want but it’s an option people will take because it is an option.
17. Even if I’ve had the most amazing day with my loved ones, I still go to bed feeling anxious and worried and really down about anything and everything.
18. If I say I’m feeling too anxious about something, don’t ask why. I don’t know. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere, I can’t help it.
19. Sometimes I don’t reach out because a voice inside my head says everyone hates me. An “I love you” from a friend can help my self-confidence and make me want to reach out to people more often.
20. Just because I’m not physically doing ritualistic behavior and checking everything, doesn’t mean I’m not mentally going over everything in my mind over and over again.
Being tired psychologically is just as worse as being tired physically.
21. Simply put, your way of thinking is not the only valid way of thinking, nor is it helpful to insist that it is. Telling us why we should just look at something your particular way isn’t helpful, and it’s exhausting.
Mental disorders are like physical disorders that you can’t see. You might as well be telling somebody with no legs that all they have to do is stand up and they can walk, just like you can.
No, there is a very real barrier. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Us recognizing that there is a barrier is not using it as an excuse, it’s being realistic.
22. Mental health disorders are not black and white. There is a large spectrum and affects people differently.
23. Don’t judge a book by their cover. You don’t know what their story is behind their actions or words.
24. For me, the slightest mean or offensive comment can have me depressed for days, or even have me re-evaluate my whole life.
25. Don’t say, “Be thankful!” Or “I’ve been through much worse!” It’s basically saying that we have no reason to be depressed and we are depressed bc we are just pathetic and ungrateful. You can talk about your experiences with related feelings but don’t say it in a way like, “I’ve been through worse,” because it only makes us feel worse about ourselves.
26. Happiness is NOT a choice. Prayer does NOT work. These statements trivialize what I’m going through and make me feel so much worse because life just isn’t easy for me. I wish it was, but with clinical depression, nothing is easy. It’s not a state of mind. It’s a debilitating illness. It makes me feel like a failure when I see people living the kind of life I wish I had. Why can’t I have that? Why do I have to be so fucked up I can’t just have a normal existence with a normal family and one of those God awful live, laugh, love pictures on the living room wall? Just something as basic as that will never happen for me.
27. I love hanging out with you, but I won’t tell you because I don’t want to pressure you into thinking that you have to be with me because you’d feel bad otherwise. And the reason why I go no-contact isn’t because I’m trying to avoid you – it’s just that my brain has convinced me that you secretly hate me.
28. I’m an Iraq Veteran with PTSD, please stop trying to make me talk about that shit. I know you THINK you mean well, but by trying to coax my demons out for your mere curiosity you’re actually making my distress 1000 times worse. Same goes for anyone with any degree of PTSD who got it for any reason, such as disaster survivors, war victims, rape survivors especially need to have their boundaries respected.
If I want to talk, I will. It may or may not be with you, that’s my decision to make.
29. Don’t feel bad for feeling happy. Enjoy it. Acting sad around me is not going to make me happy.
30. Don’t try and tell me that everyone deals with depression or anxiety or adhd. Me having an anxiety attack and you getting nervous before a big test are two very different things.
31. Social anxiety: Why do people without it feel the need to say, “Wow you’re so quiet!” “You don’t talk much” etc. Thanks pal, now I’m spiraling thinking that everyone thinks I’m weird.
32. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean I can.
33. It can happen to you. Like pressing a button, it can happen to you.
Take all the precautions – see a therapist and take medicine, have a large support system — it can happen to you. Your friends will disappear, the medicine will stop working, you won’t be able to communicate to your therapist— it can happen to you.
It might happen to you.
34. Depression. We’re still people, we can still love, feel happiness, laugh at jokes and genuinely smile. The voice isn’t always there.
35. You don’t have to be underweight to be considered anorexic.
36. I don’t need you to understand what I’m dealing with, because it’s not yours to understand. What I need is for you accept it.
37. I got called lazy by teachers all the time growing up because I had severe anxiety. It happens frequently with kids who have anxiety or ADD/ADHD.
Please quit doing that. Most 1st graders aren’t actually slacker-anarchists.
38. Posting a status with just a heart emoji does nothing to help.
Posting a status about how your door is always open does not help.
Basically stop using other people’s mental health struggles and disorders as a way to get followers and likes.
39. Empathizing and understanding can be done without a direct link to mental illness. Please stop telling me about your bi-polar brother that self-medicates with alcohol or your “crazy” schizophrenic aunt. You’re only making me feel like that’s how you see people with mental illness. I have anxiety, I’m on medication and I see a psych. Just be cool with it.
40. Stop telling me how I should think. You don’t understand. It’s not that easy.
41. If my mental health is becoming a massive pain in the ass to you, then I totally understand you distancing yourself from me. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with me either.
42. For me, it would have to be this: Just because I have social anxiety, and act on edge/don’t talk much in social situations, doesn’t mean you can patronize me as if I’m a five year old. That not only irritates me, but makes me feel even more out of place than I already do.
43. PTSD happens in more than just soldiers returning from war.
44. You can’t fix me.
You can’t say the right piece of advice, or get me in the right headspace, or convince me to do something that’ll make me happier.
Don’t feel bad about it. And don’t try to get me to do stuff I’ve said I don’t want to. You don’t know my issues better than me.
45. Sometimes needing space is just that, needing quiet and time and space. It’s how I process and cope and recover. You don’t need to fuss on me, unless I ask or something.
46. Please think before you speak. Words can be so damaging to a fragile mind. Sometimes jokes can be hard to hear if they have a relation to trauma.
47. Just because you like to clean or keep things in order does not make you “OCD.” I’m personally sick of those stereotypes.
48. “We all have our problems” or “Other people have it worse than you, you know” could not be any less helpful.
49. Your friend that disappears, no calls no texts, and then shows back up like nothing happened isn’t flighty or angry at you; they’re depressed.
The fucked up thing though, is that during their downtime, they were probably worried you were angry at them.
Depression is weird like that. Try to at least learn enough about the disorder to identify the signs of depression. Though you may feel unable to help, just understanding can mean the world to someone who’s going through the extreme lows of depressive thought. The best thing you can do, is to simply listen to them when they’re ready to talk. Suggest meekly that they might need some outside help – If only to plant the idea of recovery – But don’t force anything. You’re not hosting an intervention.
Whatever you do, don’t ever encourage someone who’s suffering in silence to “just cheer up!” Definitely don’t try to force them to hang out or go somewhere they don’t want to be. Most importantly, DO NOT suggest or offer drugs or alcohol to them – In doing so you may well become partially responsible for your friend’s death.
50. It’s not obvious that everyone struggles.