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5 Things Not to Say to Someone Suffering From Types of Mental Illness

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The stigma behind mental illness is unreasonable – and that’s putting it nicely.  The way that people tend to think of others that suffer from a mental disease is skewed.  Most people will here the word “mental” and immediately cringe, holding onto this illogical fear that these people are mad when they are just sick individuals.  Some of them aren’t even as sick as society perceives them to be and are actually  far more high-functioning members of society.  They may be your co-worker, neighbor, or even your doctor.  That’s the thing about mental diseases: sometimes you can’t see them.  Despite all types of mental illness in the world, some people will just talk without thinking and take no real consideration into what they are even talking about, practically bashing sufferers of a mental disease.  There are some things you should just plain and simply never say to someone suffering from such types of mental illness.

Types of Mental Illness: Things Not To Say

1. “It’s just your perspective.  Change your mindset.”

People who do not live with a mental illness will often advise sufferers to simply switch their mindset, as if they can turn off their mental disease.  This is not the case.  There is such a stigma behind mental health disorders that suggests that suffers can control it even though they can’t.  Having a positive outlook on life can benefit a person and bring their spirits up, but it doesn’t mean that makes their mental ailment slip away.  For example, if they are suffering from depression, their symptoms of hopelessness, anxiousness, and despair will return.  No change of perspective can prevent the disease from being present in the sufferer’s mind.

2. “Everyone feels sad. You will come out of it.”

This can be extremely belittling for someone to hear.  The words “sad” and “depressed” are often used synonymously, but they are not the same.  Depression is one of types of mental illness defined as “severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy” whereas sadness means to be affected by grief.  Regardless to say, a mental illness is not something that a person can come out of by choice.  It doesn’t work that way because it’s a sickness equivalent to that of physical ailment.

3. “You don’t have a reason to be depressed.  You have so much to happy about.”

Another way of putting down a person’s mental disease, this statement gives guilt to the person for having the disease of mental illness.  The sufferer doesn’t need a reason to feel a certain way.  Part of their disease is suffering for no reason, and they may not even want to feel that way.  They just can’t help how they feel.

4. “You don’t appreciate things.  Be grateful.”

Although being grateful can make a person be more appreciate of what they do have, it does not stop them from suffering from their mental disorder.  Having a mental disorder is not about the attitude that a person has but rather about an ailment.  Being grateful is not a remedy for a chemical imbalance in the brain.

5. “Don’t you want to get better?”

A statement like this can be especially hurtful because although the person may want to get better, they may just feel hopeless and as if their mental illness controls them.  The sufferer doesn’t need any discouraging feedback, as they are already in enough mental turmoil and distress.  Nobody wakes up in the morning and desires to have a mental disorder.  That’s not how it happens.

With so much misconception surrounding different types of mental illness, people commonly make offensive statements towards sufferers.  The stigma behind mental issues needs to be addressed.  Each person you come across on a regular basis may be facing a battle that you may know nothing about, or you two may have far more in common than you would have ever thought at first glance.  You really can’t tell who is suffering from a mental illness and people should be a little more careful what they say to one another when it comes to being sensitive about talking on the topic of mental diseases.

If you are suffering from a mental health disorder and are self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol, we can help. The Addiction Recovery Center provides a dual diagnosis program that specifically works with drug abuse, alcoholism, and various types of mental illnesses. Click here to contact us now.

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