As people living with mental health concerns and mental illness, we’ve heard so many insensitive statements. Most of the time, the person saying them doesn’t know they’re offensive or that it might be hurtful.
Today’s blog post is a collection of several mental health warriors – people who struggle daily with mental illness, who are willing to speak up and share their stories.
The following are some of the experiences where people have said rude or insensitive things regarding our mental illness.
“I was once at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting where we had a presentation on depression and mental health. I had recently been diagnosed bipolar and was telling in a small group meeting how I had been diagnosed with this cycle of depression and one girl said to me, “I just don’t see how you can have Jesus in your heart and be depressed.”. I was shocked and didn’t say another word the entire meeting.” – Julie Whitehead.
“There was a point in time where my boyfriend and I had to get back on our feet from previous relationships, we had to go to the food bank for a while. One day we went, and a comment was made by one of the volunteers “Oh, you’re one of those people!”, meaning people living with mental illness. They were asking why we come to the food bank. It was very degrading and embarrassing, the volunteer said it in front of everyone there. My boyfriend tried talking nicely to this guy and ended up we were told not to come back. We called our MP and explained the situation and she talked to him. I’m not sure what the outcome was, but we never went back.” – Anita Jackson
“The rudest thing ever said to me based on my mental health issues was, “What do you have to be sad about? Your life is perfect.” That truly hurt my feelings as the person had no idea what was happening to me.” – Melissa Henderson
“The most hurtful thing g is being told that mental illness is demonic.” – Claudette Dorey
“The rudest and most insensitive thing said to me pertaining to my mental illness was “I’m too sensitive” and it was my anxiety (and not how he was treating me) that made me feel uncomfortable following an incident where someone was gaslighting me and making me question if I was being too dramatic for standing up for myself.” – Nina Rondon
“I don’t know where to start. That I’m lazy? That I take too much medication? That I just don’t want to help myself?” – Jessica Wetting
“When I was first diagnosed with long term depression (Dysthymia) and Generalized Anxiety disorder I sat down with my parents to have an honest conversation about it. My Mom grew up in a family who believed that showing vulnerability was bad and everything was criticized. She said to me “where did I go wrong raising you”. It hurt more than anything else ever said to me. Now when I look back at that conversation it makes me sad for her because she never had a safe person to go to in her family, or friends. She has acute anxiety now and still won’t even talk to her doctor about it and ask for help. She wasn’t aware that mental illness is a medical issue that her parenting had nothing to do with my mental illness.” – Karen Sayer
“The worst thing that was said to me was someone seeing me in the middle of a panic attack and telling me I must have a neurological disorder…scared me so much I was only 14 and it stuck with me.” – Ellenie Kibaris
“At 14 I began to struggle with suicidal thoughts, so I reached out to my parents for support, and understandably it crushed my mom, but my abusive father had a different response.
He pulled me aside the next day for a walk to talk about it, and I was hoping he was going to give me advice, etc. Nope. His words were: “If you ever bring that up again, or upset your mother like that again, you won’t need to worry about killing yourself, I’ll do it for you”. Obviously, that stuck with me and was a big part of the reason I didn’t bother to get help until I had a full breakdown and was unable to work, period.“ – Caleb Van Vooren
“Someone I liked and admired said, “I wish I could get FMLA leave for being sad and anxious, I could really use some extra days off.” – Caleb Van Vooren
“My mother told me… “It’s a phase.” – Angela W.
“Have you tried praying about it? Maybe you haven’t prayed enough.” – Nichole Howson
“After expressing my pain and suicidal thoughts, I was told I was selfish.” – Anonymous.
“I was told by someone I love, “I knew you wouldn’t go through with it.” after being in the hospital for suicidal thoughts.” – Anonymous.
“I was told, “Your anxiety ruins things for everyone around you.” – Gabrielle M.
“Someone said, “it’s all in your head, you cause the anxiety, everything is fine.” – Cynthia B.