Sometimes it's not always easy to go through it, but little things people do can make it harder. We don't want to tell you it's not helping because we are afraid you'll stop helping. We want to get better and we want you to help us, not hurt us.
1. Small actions make a big difference
Everything you do has an impact on people. Just the other night my roommate’s boyfriend held the door for a boy at the right time. He needed someone to talk to or the unimaginable would have happened. Even a smile can make all the difference.
2. I’m not looking for attention
No, I don't need your pity and no, this isn't a ploy to get attention. Mental illness isn't the rom-com fantasy Hollywood makes it. I'm not looking for a boy/girl to come and fix me.
3.Reaching out is hard
Gathering the strength to tell friends and family about my mental illness takes a lot. I harbor a lot of fear because of the stigma that has been placed on people like me. I’m telling you about this so that you can help and maybe someday try to understand it.
4. It’s scary to deal with
Battling your own mind is not fun and it is scary. Your thoughts can control you and drive you to do things that you would regret. The unknown is scary and not knowing when your own mind can tear you down or turn you into a different person is scary.
5. Don’t tell me to smile
Somedays it's hard and I get tired of putting on a front. The last thing I want you to do is to tell me to smile. That doesn't fix what is going on in my head. The best thing you can do is ask me if I am ok and if I want to talk. I may say no, but the fact you asked means a lot.
6. Compassion goes a long way
Just being there means a world of difference. Going through this alone is never fun and known someone is there means the world. I don't want to only have professionals to talk to, it's good to have a friend.
7. Don’t belittle the issues
What sets me off may seem small, but it is a big deal to me. Your dad may have had this or your cousin's friend, but my struggle is not the same. They may have gotten over it, but their journey is not the same as my own.
8. Talking about it is hard, don't make it harder
Sometimes I don't want to rehash what I am thinking, but I open up to you to get support and knowing someone cares. Yes, my problems may be the same, but for me those are triggers. My mind wanders on these subjects and comes back to them.
9. Everyone has their own timeline
Mental illness isn't like a cold or the flu. It won't go away overnight or even in a week. For some, it lasts a lifetime. If I am not better on your timeline, that doesn't mean I'm not trying. I am trying harder than you will ever know.
10. Build me up
Little encouragements make me feel good about where I am. “You look good today, “You look really happy” is what I want to hear. Not, “You look tired”, ”Why are you so glum?”. I am trying my best and having that recognized makes it worth it.
11. I don’t need to be fixed or saved
I’m not looking to be saved or have you “fix me”. I am not broken, I am so much stronger than you think I am. The worst thing is when you take credit for my survival.
12. I’m trying even when you don't think I am
I may come in one day and not be in the best mood. This doesn't mean I'm not trying, for all you know getting out of bed was the hardest thing. Those days when I’m down are the hardest day.
13. I just want to be happy
If I don't come off upset or I don't reach out, odds are I am trying to forget it and I just want to be positive. Don't bring it up. Crack a joke or suggest doing something fun. Anything to take my mind off of it.
14. Thank You
I may not say it enough but being there means everything and more to me. There aren't a lot of people who stick around during hard times,and everyone who does has a special place in my heart. I may never be able to repay you, but I will be forever grateful.