No one cares about mental health. *sigh*
Ok, Let me re-phrase that. If they do, it often doesn’t last for long. To be honest, I don’t blame them. It is very tiring. Hell, it was tiring for me. Always explaining, reasoning, and justifying to yourself and various people. As if fighting with depression, anxiety, and mania wasn’t enough. Then you have to try to live life with all of its responsibilities and demands. I mean having a mental illness doesn’t make life go away. If anything, it keeps it screaming in your face.
Mental illness is that annoying nagging relative everyone has. What are you doing with your life? Why aren’t you married? You aren’t getting any younger. I always thought you would have done more with your life. It is that little voice that constantly reminds you of your failures even when you have accomplished something. Life is just never good enough. To the outside world, it kind of makes you seem like a whiner. I mean, how bad could one’s life really be. Sure, you can sob about it for a little bit, but then it is time to get your shit together. I am I right? No. I know I am wrong.
You see mental illness isn’t just being bummed out. It is what most people don’t really understand. Mental illness isn’t being sad or disappointed like not getting want for your birthday from someone who should know you. Mental illness is thinking that the person doesn’t love you anymore and hates you because they bought you earrings instead of some obscure book you wanted but told no one about. Or feeling like they did it on purpose to get back at you because you forgot to buy milk the other day. Mental illness has a way of taking a simple action and warping it beyond recognition. The hard part is you don’t realize it is happening.
Yes, sometimes I can tell I am going into a depression or when a manic stage is coming on. I have been aware of my bipolar disorder for many years so I know what to look for. However, sometimes I have a hard time because I also have mixed episodes. I can be manic and depressed at the same time. Moments like that I am at a loss because I don’t know if I juke right or left. And that is with my particular mental illness with me personally. Bipolar disorder with my other family members is different and they have with it differently.
Mental illnesses are difficult to treat because every person’s mind is different. I mean yes we all have the same anatomy. Yet will all have different memories, personalities, experiences which make us who we are as individuals. For that reason, treatment for the mentally ill is a case by case basis. We are kind of like snowflakes. Yes, we all have 6 sides but all our designs are different. So you may have dealt with one person who has had depression but that doesn’t automatically mean you know how to deal with people who have depression. Why? First, there are different kinds of depression and different triggers.
So what am I trying to say? First, mental illness is REAL! And yes it is all in someone’s head because it is an illness of the brain. Now that we cleared that up. If you know someone who has mental illness, listen to them. Let them talk it out. Then ask them how you can help them best. Create a system where they know they can rely on you for support. Please know this: If you want to be a support person for someone with mental illness, it is a lifetime commitment. THERE IS NO CURE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS!! I am sorry for yelling but it is a point that needs screamed from the rooftops.
So what can you do to help:
- Check in if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
- Do not push them into a situation that is in uncomfortable.
- Offer to help with some stressors. Ex. Make a meal. Help out with a task
- If you believe that they are suicidal, do NOT hesitate to get them help!!
There are a ton of resources in which you can find out how to help. Most of all, just validate that you understand they are not seeking attention or making this up. Let them know that you are aware their illness is real. When the world is too much sometimes we just need someone to tell us it is going to be alright even when our mind is screaming no. We need you to care. I need you to care because one day it may be me who needs to be saved.