What NOT To Someone With A Mental Illness With BONUS Sentences Of What To Say Instead!

When you are a sufferer of a mental illness, it isn’t uncommon to hear some unhelpful and ignorant statements of judging and uneducated people. Join me as we go through and educate the unbeknown offenders on things to say and things not to say to someone with a complex mental illness.

1. Snap out of it!

Let’s talk under the premise that someone is either panicking about something or they have depression and are going through a depressive episode. (Obviously, there are way other examples I could use and is not limited to these examples) 

Telling said person to “Snap out of it” is not only going to make the person feel worse, it is invalidating their feelings and gives them a message that you don’t care – even if, in fact, you do!

Instead of telling them to forget about it and move on, you could: 

  • Ask if they’re okay?
  • ask them if they would like to talk about it
  • If they say they’re not okay, ask if they’d like some support
  • Try to understand their story and see things from their eyes
  • Reassure them that you will help them 
  • Don’t worry we will deal with this together
  • Reassure them that you will do your best to help 

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    2. Just forget about it!

    When speaking to someone with a mental illness, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that some, if not most, have suffered something that they feel was a traumatic event, that has shaped them for who they are. 

    Therefore, tell them to “just forget about it” which often is paired with “Just move on” is something this person has tried to do countless times before. 

    But simply forgetting about it and moving on is going to take a while before they get to where they want to be. 

    Instead of telling them to forget about it and move on, you could: 

    • Ask them if they would like support,
    • Try to understand their story and see things from their eyes
    • Reassure them that you understand 
    • Reassure them that you will do your best to help 

    3. Stop being so dramatic!

    One of the most invalidating statements that could be said to someone with a complex mental illness, such as BPD/EUPD, PTSD, ASD or an Anxiety Disorder. Many sufferers have experianced this phrase when they are have an ASD meltdown, upset because of extreme levels of fear, having a flashback, or have a disorder that causes their emotions to be dysregulated.

    In that moment where they are in extreme need of help, loved ones or those whose job is to have may have said something along the lines of “Stop being so dramatic!”. This doesnt provide any form of help to the one in need of help and support. It only makes them feel devalued, uncared for, unloved, and heartbroken.

    4. [insert name] has had it worse

    Comparisons are never nice.

    No matter who is getting compared to who. To be honest, I don’t think anyone enjoys being compared (unless your an a-hole but thats a whole different story).

    So, when you have a mental illness and you are getting compared and to someone who doesn’t, you start to feel as if there is something wrong with you – which is totally unfair.

    If you know someone who is struggling and you want to give them some form of advice or encouraging worse, please don’t say “so and so has had it worse and they recovered” because that is invalidating how the person you are speaking to is feeling and may make the other person feel awkward.

     

    And whilst we are in the same boat, please don’t say something like “think about the children in Africa who are starving etc” because you are essentially making them feel guilty about something they can not control.

    Instead of comparing them to another person, you could:

    You could get introduce the person who is in need of help to the person who has been through it before as they may help each other through and can talk on a personal level.

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      5. Are you in a mood again?

      No matter if you are someone with a mental illness or you are plainly a woman, you may have become accustomed to hearing this over and over again – even if there is nothing wrong. It’s a shitty statement. 

      Now I know some people may say this as a “joke” but honestly, to the people who hear it time and time again, It isn’t funny. It is actually an insult. 

      To the everyday person it’s an insult because they are inadvertently being told they are not happy enough for the person and is on the same wavelength of “tut, cheer up, will you” which in turn may piss the person off. 

      When you have a mental illness and hear “Are you in a mood again?” especially when you can’t help it because you are in a depressive state, you are anxious or you suffer from mood dysregulation meaning that you have absolutely no control over your emotions, trust me it’s going to piss them off chronic. 

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        Some nice things to say to someone who is struggling.

        1. Do you want to talk about it?
        2. That sounds really difficult. How are you coping?
        3. Let’s go somewhere quiet or for a walk?
        4. I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I’m here if you need me.
        5. Are you looking for my perspective or would you rather me just listen?
        6. Okay, let’s break the problem down so we can find a solution together.
        7. This is normal
        8. I understand
        9. Don’t worry I’m not going anywhere
        10. We’ll get through it together
        11. We can take steps to get you where you want to be together
        12. You will always have my support
        13. I love you so much. I wish I could make you all better.

        1 thought on “What NOT To Someone With A Mental Illness With BONUS Sentences Of What To Say Instead!”

        1. These kinds of comments are especially devastating to hear from people who you’re close to. It’s one thing to not understand an experience but another to completely invalidate it!

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