9 Things Mental Illness Patients Are Tired Of Hearing
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Health and Wellness

9 Things Mental Illness Patients Are Tired Of Hearing

In a world that doesn't support trigger warnings, the least you can do is be considerate of your words.

9 Things Mental Illness Patients Are Tired Of Hearing
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A couple months ago my lovely friend wrote an article about why she's not ashamed of being medicated for her depression. Fortunately, there are many of us, including myself, that stand with her. In a world that is becoming increasingly open-minded towards and aware of mental health problems, those that are suffering from mental disorders are encouraged to speak up and speak out. I'm in awe of the courage we have had as a community to "own" our mental disorders, to say, "Yes, this is a part of me, but it doesn't define me."

Unfortunately, our disorders still come with more than a few stereotypes and of course a handful of inappropriate or unnecessary, sometimes even well-meaning comments including:

1. That's a pseudo-condition.

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Just don't say it. Do not ever infer that a mental illness is a pseudo-condition, especially not to anybody that suffers from one. I see this most often with ADHD, which is very perplexing. What many don't realize is that the assumption that ADHD is a pseudo-condition, because "everybody is a little ADHD", has the potential to invalidate all mental disorders. Doesn't everybody get sad or anxious sometimes? Doesn't everybody have an inherent desire for some sort of organization and structure? Doesn't everybody have painful flashbacks occasionally?

The difference between a normal condition and a disorder is the frequency with which disorders negatively interfere with daily life. Unless you are an expert in the field, it is none of your business to comment on whether or not somebody is suffering from a "real" mental illness.

2. You don't need medicine.

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Don't you take an antibiotic for an infection? Don't you take Advil for pain relief? These medications work to rid the body of the cause of infection and treat the symptoms. Mental disorders are caused by physiological malfunctions that, if severe enough, may necessitate treatment with medication. Don't undermine the severity of mental illness by suggesting "medication isn't necessary".

3. You just have to want to get better.

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Hate to break it to you, it doesn't exactly work like that. Remember the last time you wished you could magically lose a little weight but you woke up the next morning and well, you were the same you? Well, mental disorders work similarly. There are mechanisms to cope with or reduce symptoms, and ultimately yes, you have to want to get better, but the neurons in our brains aren't going to rearrange themselves or begin to operate differently just because we wanted them to. Stop implying that our disorder may persist simply because we aren't trying hard enough.

4. I'm so... depressed/OCD/ADHD/ etc.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F13%2F6361197257872531811847980424_giphy-7.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=806&h=f0a6d90017693fb5115e620dd674b0a3b2b524a6abcbd13d02bdd08d19eea303&size=980x&c=3921695474 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F13%252F6361197257872531811847980424_giphy-7.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D806%26h%3Df0a6d90017693fb5115e620dd674b0a3b2b524a6abcbd13d02bdd08d19eea303%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3921695474%22%7D" expand=1]

No, you aren't. Unless you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, do not use one as an excuse for your erratic or "odd" behavior. Mental illnesses are not excuses, and they shouldn't be the punchline to your joke.

5. It's all in your head.

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Yes, yes it is. Anybody with a mental illness already knows this. Are you implying that because it is in our head we have some sort of control over it?

6. You don't seem...

Oh, wow! I can tell you've been spending quite a lot of time studying the DSM-5... No, it seems that our fundamental understanding of mental disorders is wrong. Depression, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, are oftentimes grossly generalized, leading to their characterization by the most outward symptoms that aren't even always present in those that are ailing.

You don't seem depressed, you're always happy! You're too disorganized to have OCD! Are you sure you have ADHD? You're not hyperactive.

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Oh wow, if only I had known you were a licensed psychiatrist I would've saved myself the trouble! Remember that whole, "don't judge a book by its cover" thing? Yeah, remember that. Even psychiatrists don't diagnose conditions with one quick glance at a person. You're definitely not qualified to make that judgment call either.

7. I can tell you haven't taken your medicine today.

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Pointing out anybody's mental disorder like this is wrong and insulting, as you are assuming that their actions or words are not their own but rather, a manifestation of their illness. Just don't do it.

8. Cheer up!

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Well, why didn't I think of that? You know, I can't seem to remember the last time you just "cheered up" when you were upset. So why would that be a legitimate option to me? This suggestion is ultimately useless and is just a reminder that I have little control over my own pain.

9. It'll get better someday.

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Well, isn't that reassuring! Thank you, for the solid piece of advice.

Suffering from a mental disorder is bad enough without being plagued by the often condescending and rude comments from those who are unaffected and closed-minded.

Although our society has grown more tolerant to the idea of mental health disorders and their legitimacy, it has a tendency to disregard mental health, despite the fact that the brain is debatably the most vital organ to our livelihood. Please be considerate with your words when interacting with those suffering from mental disorders.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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