Please Stop Generalizing My Mental Illness
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Politics and Activism

Please Stop Generalizing My Mental Illness

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Please Stop Generalizing My Mental Illness
Original (Madeline Metcalfe)

Lately across the internet, I have seen numerous articles with titles similar to that of, “How to love someone with Anxiety Disorder,” or “How to love someone with Depression,” and to an extent these articles are somewhat offensive. For anyone who has a mental illness, there is an awareness that every single individual’s mental illness is different. No two people’s anxiety is the same, no two people’s depression is the same, really no two people’s anything is the same.

Please stop generalizing my anxiety disorder and depression.

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, and chronic panic attacks at a very young age, meaning mental illness has been something that I have had to monitor for a long time. Whenever I see an article entitled, “How to love someone with anxiety,” or “How to love someone with Depression,” my immediate reaction is obviously to click on it and read it. As I find myself reading these umbrella idea article, I realize that most of what I’m reading is inaccurate to my anxiety disorder and depression. For me, whenever I am having an anxiety (panic) attack, I prefer not to be around anyone, I prefer to occupy myself, and sometimes I even prefer to shut down, however, this is not the case for everyone who has anxiety disorder. Some people bite their nails or tap their fingers. Some crack their knuckles or touch their hair. Whenever I am in a severe depression, I do my best to keep myself busy and on a regular schedule in order to try and get back into a good place. However, when I am struggling with depression more so than normal, I don’t prefer to talk about it with anyone and my preference is to handle it myself. Again, this is not the case for everyone. Many people with depression prefer to not do anything when they are struggling, and many prefer to talk about what they are struggling with. My point is, everyone deals with their anxiety disorder and depression differently, and the same is true with loving someone with anxiety disorder. Sure, loving someone with anxiety disorder is different than loving someone without it, but that doesn’t mean that loving two people with anxiety disorder and depression is the same, nor will it ever be.

Having your mental illness put under this umbrella idea is offensive in the sense that it gives those who don’t have mental illness an incorrect idea of how to treat someone with mental illness. So for those of you who don’t know, don’t go to an article to try and figure it out, don’t google the answer, don’t ask a friend. The best way to find out how to help someone with mental illness is to ask that person how to help them. Ask them what they prefer and how you can help or what wont help. Try to understand what they are going through, but remember, you don’t live in their head, and a miniscule problem to you might be a problem of great magnitude to someone with mental illness. Remember that showing love and compassion and showing that you are going to stick around through the good and the bad will get you pretty far with someone who struggles with mental illness. Even when hope seems lost, don’t give up.

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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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