Today is #BellLetsTalk Day.
I’m really glad that a large corporation takes such an interest in mental health and promotes it in a positive way.
I figured, that today being about mental health that I would share some of the absolutely silly things people have said to me about my mental health….
“You can do it! I believe in you!”
On the face of it, you’d think this was not something incredibly stupid.
However, the thing the speaker thought I could do was to stop being so absent-minded even though he knew I was bi-polar and have ADHD.
I should point out that he thought that Bi-Polar meant mood-swings…and didn’t feel the need to do any reading on the subject.
So, what he was essentially saying was that my disease, and its features, were something I could overcome with hard work and discipline.
In other words my disease wasn’t a disease…but a character flaw.
Naturally, when the features of my disease allowed me to do things that were superhuman (ADHD is like a superpower…I can focus completely on something and knock down problems in record time), there was nary a complaint.
I’ll note that when a co-worker hurt his back and couldn’t do any heavy lifting, this individual did not say to him, “Hey, I believe in you! You can do it! Go lift and carry heavy things!”
“Other people have it worse than you do.”
This was the response I got when I told someone that I was deeply depressed.
The hardest thing for me is to admit to someone else that I’m in trouble…..and stupidity like this is the reason why.
But, on the bright side, I discovered that getting really, really, really angry with someone is a good way to break the depressive cycle.
“If things are so bad, why haven’t you killed yourself?”
Yes, someone actually said this to me.
I’m not sure what made him say this….when I questioned it, he told me that he’d ‘read somewhere’ that depression and mental illness are just people crying out for help….and that if it was really bad they usually just killed themselves.
I pointed out to him that some “crazy people” make themselves feel better by beating the living shit out of someone who desperately needed it.
He then followed up by telling me that he disputed my inference that he actually desperately needed a beating.
“If you wouldn’t use such flowery words to describe how you feel, you wouldn’t be so depressed!”
Apparently my mental health wasn’t the issue, it was that I could, at times, so poignantly describe my pain.
This is akin to saying that a sunset is less beautiful if you say, “Hey, nice sunset!”, instead of saying, “What a magnificent display of nature’s radiance!”.
This reinforces something I often say….”People are stupid.”
“Well, its probably because of X. Let’s review in detail…..”
While this isn’t a specific quote, this is one of the situations that is the most maddening…..
The presumption that there something that caused the depression, and it was likely my fault.
First off, if I’m upset or worried about something, I don’t need to rehash the cause.
Here’s a newsflash, despite my mental health issues, I’m smart…actually, let’s be brutally honest here.
I’m really fucking smart!
I know when I fuck something up, and I don’t need to re-hash the details…especially with the tone of “this is all your fault!”.
Especially….when whatever the individual thinks I screwed up, I didn’t really screw up and has nothing to do with my current situation.
Conversations usually go like this:
“Hey, you always screw up your finances, is that it?
You always do this, is that it?
Well you always do that?
Is that it?”
Of course, when you’re throwing out ideas about how this is all my fault, do you know what I’m thinking?
“Wow, what a good friend!”
Its more like….
“What a fucking asshole.”
Let me close by telling you the best things I’ve heard from friends when things were bad….
…because you do matter.
You’re not alone, we’ll get through this…I’m with you every step of the way!
/hug What can I do to help? Just listen? Okay, I’m here.
WOOF! WOOF! [Tackle] [Face Lick]