I’m letting my heart spill out through my keyboard… metaphorically, of course, and I’m offering it all to you. Today, I’m going to talk about my mental health. This is something that I’ve worked to conceal for a long time, mostly because of the negative stigma attached to mental illness. I’m sharing for two main reasons; (1) to educate people, and (2) to show people like me that they are not alone.
For the record: I’m living with Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder… In this post I’m sharing 10 “harmless things” that people have said to me that actually cause me a great deal of pain. I’m also sharing how they make me feel, and why, while giving you an inside look at my life.
So, these are the things I wish you wouldn’t say to me;
“You don’t look like you have a mental illness.”
More commonly stated as; “you don’t look depressed” or “but, you look so normal”.
Please, tell me, what is a bipolar person supposed to look like? What is a depressed person supposed to look like?
Yes, you see me standing in the grocery store, politely smiling and nodding at people… and you think to yourself “she looks completely normal”… What you don’t see is the conflict inside me, and how painful my smile sometimes is.
You see a smiling woman. You didn’t see me last night, when I had a panic attack while making my shopping list. You didn’t see me 30 minutes ago, when I prayed and gave myself a pep talk in the car. You didn’t see me 10 minutes ago, when I put my earbuds in and turned on music to avoid an embarrassing public anxiety attack. No, you just see a happy woman shopping for avocado and white onion… You see no indication of the chaos and panic going on inside my mind, because I work super hard to keep it all inside.
Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder are all invisible illnesses. So, what am I supposed to look like?
“I wish I was manic; I’d get so much done.”
With all due respect, no. If you understood what mania was you would never wish for it. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish a manic episode on my worst enemy.
Being stuck inside of a manic episode can be an emotionally debilitating experience; it’s painful, exhausting, and completely illogical. Imagine having a swarm of rabid bumblebees trapped inside your head. There are hundreds of buzzing bees, and every single bee has its own project to do. Every bumblebee project is emergent and needs to be completed, in its entirety, immediately. So you spend hours, days, or maybe even weeks aimlessly running around in an unrealistic fashion trying to complete all the bizarre bumblebee tasks.
It’s not efficient. It’s stressful and it can cause major life impairment, so stop wishing for it.
Bipolar mania is an illness. You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer “I wish I could have chemo, I’d lose so much weight” would you? No. You wouldn’t. Because it would be rude and insensitive. So stop it.
“You just need a hobby.”
I wish it could be that simple. I’ve had enough hobbies for 5 lifetimes, and guess what: I’m still bipolar, I still have obsessive compulsive disorder, and I’m still a prisoner to social anxiety. I’ve tried painting, biking, yoga, running, weight lifting, hiking, fishing, spectator sports, journaling, photography, coloring, you name it… and, sure, sometimes a hobby can be a nice distraction, but more often than not a hobby can cause additional anxiety.
For example, a few months ago I tried to join a comic book reading group. I mean, I absolutely love comic books, so it seemed perfect. I bought the comic books, read them, re-read them, wrote detailed notes, researched the comics, developed questions, and talking points for the group discussion. On the day of the group I got dressed (in a t-shirt that matched the comic), put the comics in my backpack, and proceeded to have an absolute meltdown because of unknowns: how many people would be at the group, what if I didn’t know anyone, or (even worse) what if I did know someone and they didn’t like me, what if my talking points weren’t good enough? My anxiety became an endless thought spiral that I couldn’t control. Thus turning my hobby into an additional cause of anxiety, which ultimately resulted in a full-blown anxiety attack, hours of crying, and me not leaving the house for days.
The “you just need a hobby” comment is particularly hurtful because it invalidates the seriousness of my illness. Like, my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will be miraculously cured if I take up knitting? No.
“Have you tried praying about it?”
Yes. The answer is yes. I pray constantly.
I pray that God will give me the strength to get out of bed to feed and care for my dogs when I’m having an episode of bipolar depression.
I pray that God will steady my voice, so I won’t constantly over talk others when I’m stuck in an episode of bipolar mania.
I pray that God will strengthen my resolve when I have racing thoughts of worthlessness that could lead to self-harm.
I pray that God will help me be strong, and learn to control my emotions, so I can be a mother someday.
I also pray about hundreds of things that have nothing to do with my mental illness.
So, yes, I pray.
These “prayer” comments hurt, they really hurt. For example, a few weeks ago I posted a blog about my struggle with depression, someone who read it said to me; “that’s you letting the devil in, you have to pray harder.” That comment hit me like a punch directly to the gut; upon hearing it I immediately got dizzy, nauseous, and frantic. I know, I know, their comment probably came from a good place… But it made me feel so empty. My mental illness is not caused by the absence of God, or presence of the devil… it’s a chemical imbalance that I’ll have to live with during my time on Earth, regardless of my relationship with God. Sure, a strong relationship with God makes everything more bearable, but praying won’t make my bipolar disorder go away. Praying, will, however, help me become stronger in facing the adversity that life has given me. So I pray.
“Everybody gets sad/stressed sometimes, it doesn’t mean you have a mental illness.”
This is important, so pay attention: sadness is not the same as depression, and stress is not the same as anxiety. Additionally, this statement is hurtful because it means that you don’t take my illness seriously. For example: you wouldn’t say to a person with Lupus; “everyone get sunburn, that doesn’t mean you have Lupus” would you? No, hopefully you wouldn’t, because that statement is both senseless and uneducated.
Sadness is a normal human emotion. Depression, on the other hand, is an abnormal emotional state caused by a mental illness.
Sad people are sad because something happened that caused their sadness; it could be something huge (like the loss of a loved one), or something small (like a bad first date), and sadness normally lasts a reasonable amount of time. Whereas depression needs no cause or invitation, it just happens, completely unsolicited… and there is no logic or rational thought behind how long it sticks around. Sure, depression can be triggered by a sad event, and severe sadness can lead to a form or depression, but that’s an entirely different conversation.
Sad people are sad. People with depression experience deep feelings of worthlessness, difficulty in concentration and connectivity, decreased pleasure in things that are normally pleasurable, a lack in concern for personal hygiene, and even thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Example: If I was simply sad (from a breakup, or whatever) I’d eat a pint of ice cream with my friends, cry a little, maybe get a haircut, and binge-watch a TV show. If I was experiencing depression, I would let the ice cream melt on the countertop, ignore my friends calls (for days, or even weeks), forget to shower or brush my hair (for days, or even weeks), and I wouldn’t be able to binge-watch, because TV shows probably wouldn’t bring me joy… I’d just sit, or lay, numb to the world, in a worthless state of “blah”. See the difference?
I guess you could put it this way: Sadness is feeling sad. Depression is feeling nothing, at all.
Stress originates from the pressures that a person feels in their everyday life; you have a deadline approaching, your child has two bake sales and a school dance this week, you got a flat tire on the way to work, etc… With stress, once the obstacle is achieved the emotion (stress) disappears, until it reappears because of another stressful obstacle; the bake sale is over, so the “bake sale stress” leaves, and on-and-on-and-so-forth. Anxiety, however, doesn’t work so conveniently: true anxiety will continue after the stressor is gone, or will originate out of nowhere when it doesn’t even seem like there is a stressor around.
When you’re stressed you can feel overwhelmed for a short or extended period of time. When you’re having anxiety you can experience a debilitating state of emotions. I normally call these emotions “crippling vertigo spirals” [patent pending]; I get faint, dizzy, and nauseous, I feel an intense amount of terror, followed quickly by chest pains, and cold sweats, my mind begins racing wildly, and I can’t calm down. If I’m in a private place (like my home) I immediately sit down and begin my calming techniques, but if I’m in a public place (like a movie theater or shopping mall) my small anxiety attack can turn into an episode, and it’s a horrible and helpless, situation – “crippling vertigo spiral” is really the only words I can find to describe it.
Back to the comment: by saying “everyone gets sad” or “everyone gets stressed” you are erasing the validity of my illness. You are basically saying that my illness doesn’t exist to you. I have a real illness, please don’t belittle or invalidate it in such a casual way. It’s real. I live with it every day.
“But your life is perfect, you have nothing to be depressed about.”
This statement is just ridiculous.
Carrie Fisher had Bipolar Disorder.
Melissa Benoist struggles with Depression.
Lady Gaga has Fibromyalgia.
Chrissy Teigen struggled with Postpartum Depression.
Michael Phelps has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Daniel Radcliffe has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
My Favorite Advisor from College has Lupus.
All of those amazing people live seemingly normal lives. All of those people inspire happiness in others. All of those people seem like they live perfect lives; Princess Leia, Supergirl, an Olympian, Harry Potter… All of those people, including me, have an invisible illness. We live with it. We look normal. But the illness is there, and it is the illness inside us that causes our symptoms, not the life around us. So, we look normal. So what?
“You must be manic right now.”
I normally hear this when I’m excited about something. Sometimes people confuse genuine excitement for a manic episode. For example, I’ll start talking, passionately, about a book or movie release and someone will stop me and say, “calm down, you’re a little too manic right now.” No, I’m just excited. I’m allowed to be excited about things, just like everyone else.
This is one of the biggest buzzkills ever.
“At least there’s nothing physically wrong with you.”
This statement makes me want to scream. It’s just awful. I don’t even know how to explain how awful this is.
First off, I don’t like the latter part of the statement; “wrong with you”. There is nothing “wrong with me”, I’m just me. I have an illness, it’s there, and I’m fine with it.
Second, what do you mean by “physically wrong”? Because there are MANY physical symptoms of my illness.
My Physical Stuff:
Obsessive Skin Picking: A few years ago my dermatillomania got so bad that I almost lost a finger due to a really bad infection. My obsessive compulsion, at the time, was skin picking, and I couldn’t stop picking at my hands… and I don’t mean picking a hangnail; I mean digging relentlessly at gaping wounds on my hands. It was painful, bloody, and awful. It took therapy, trials with many medications, and years of practice to calm the compulsion down. Now I get fake nails put on bi-monthly because it’s more difficult to pick with acrylic nails. The obsession is still there. I carry Band-Aids and gloves in my purse, so I can put them on when I start picking. Mainly so I won’t get blood all over everything. Is that physical enough for you?
Obsessive Teeth Grinding: My anxiety causes such bad night terrors that I’ve actually cracked my teeth in my sleep. I often wake up with a bloody mouth. I recently got a mouth guard to wear at night, so I don’t break all my teeth.
Anxiety Related Hives: They look a lot like poison ivy. Actually, once in college I had a really bad anxiety attack and broke out in hives. I thought it was poison ivy, so I covered myself in calamine lotion. Then, I fell asleep because I was so exhausted from the anxiety attack. When I woke up I realized that I was late for volleyball practice, so I rushed to practice – still covered in the calamine lotion… I told my teammates that I had poison ivy, but to my amazement the hives were gone… my teammates got mad, and thought I was making an excuse for being late. It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered they were anxiety hives. I get them all the time, they are huge, ugly, and they itch like crazy, but they go away after an hour-or-so. I never told my teammates, or my coach the truth (because I was so embarrassed about my disorder)… they will find out, now, if they are reading this.
Post-Mania Pain: When I’m manic it’s like I’m trapped underwater, holding my breath. It causes all my bones and muscles to tense up. So, when my mania finally goes away I’m left with the aftermath of my own body, and it’s often excruciating. Joint pain. Muscle pain. Headaches from teeth grinding. Dehydration from panicked breathing. Post-Mania body pain is one of my absolute least favorite parts of life. I don’t wanna put into words how painful it can be.
I’m gonna stop there, because I’m not mentally ready to share other physical side-effects with you… maybe someday.
But, for the record: sure, I don’t have the stereotypical characteristics of someone with an obvious physical impairment or disability… But that still isn’t a fair comparison. It isn’t fair to me, and it isn’t fair to people who live with a physical impairment. So, STOP USING THE WORD “WRONG”. Just stop.
“Have you tried herbal remedies?”
More commonly stated as; “I sell _______, and I bet it could help you with your bipolar disorder.”
These conversations are always super awkward. Someone will say; “oh, my cousin was super stressed too, then she tried lavender essential oils, and she’s all good now. I can sell you some essential oils for your stress.”
First, I’ll say it again: stress is not the same as a social anxiety disorder. Second, I believe that herbal remedies can, indeed, help people with mental illnesses… But, with that being said, people try to heal my disorders with stuff they are selling WAY TOO OFTEN… and it’s reached an insensitive level.
What am I supposed to say in reply to these “door-to-door mental illness experts”? Let’s take a look at my options;
Option 1: “I’m glad oils helped your stressed cousin, but I’m not stressed, I have a severe social anxiety disorder, it’s an actual chemical imbalance in my brain.”
Why Option 1 Doesn’t Work: It almost always results in someone, with no medical training, explaining my medical condition to me… normally in a belittling voice. Followed by “lavender essential oils will fix you right up”.
Option 2: “I would like to consult my physician before I start a treatment.”
Why Option 2 Doesn’t Work: When I use Option 2 I normally receive a reply like this “My product is recommended by doctors, my friend is a PA, and he recommends it to everyone. I’ll get you set up with a discounted sample trial. You’ll love it.”
You wouldn’t tell someone with Lupus to “just use sunscreen”, would you? So stop assuming my Bipolar Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be cured by a yearly supply of whatever product you’re selling… its insensitive, and hurtful.
Public Service Announcement: If you wanna sell something to me, just pitch it, you don’t have to bring up my illness… I like the smell of pumpkin… so run with that. I’ll probably end up buying something from you.
“At least you don’t have kids, then you’d be really stressed.” or “Good thing you’re not a mother, you wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
This is the worst type of comment. By far. I want to be a mother more than anything in the entire world… and I can’t, for the life of me, understand why people think this statement is appropriate. It’s not appropriate, in the slightest. It’s cruel and awful. I’m a capable human. A very capable human, actually. I share my struggles so other people can see that they are not alone. I share my insecurities so other people can find strength in them. I don’t share my illness so “Susan at the bake sale” can tell me that I would be an unfit mother…
If God blesses me with a baby someday I’ll be a fit mother. I’ll put that child’s needs before my own every single day. I will be a wonderful and capable mother. A mother that just so happens to be living with bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. If God gives my husband and I a child we will be amazing parents… and shame on you, “Susan”, for lumping my mental illness in a ball with parental stress.
I know stressors will come with parenthood, but I will conquer them all, in stride.
*“Susan” represents a wide-variety of people who have told me not to become a mother because of my mental illness. None of those people are actually named Susan, and none of the conversations happened at a bake sale.
Curtain Call: In Conclusion
If you’ve ever said one of these things to me, there is absolutely no need to apologize. You didn’t understand then, but now you do. Also, if you feel offended because I “called you out”, I’m sorry… But, I’m advocating for myself. My intention was never to offend or hurt anyone, ever. I just want kindness, awareness, and acceptance.
If you’re living with Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or anything outside of that, or in between, always remember that you have survived 100% of your toughest days, and there is an entire world full of people who are on your team. Never, ever, ever, give up. You matter. I’ll leave you with two excerpts from my favorite Broadway Musical;
“Even if you’ve always been that barely-in-the-background kind of guy,
You still matter!
And even if you’re somebody who can’t escape the feeling that the world’s passed you by,
You still matter!
If you never get around to doing some remarkable thing, that doesn’t mean that you’re not worth remembering.
No one deserves to be forgotten,
No one deserves to fade away,
No one should flicker out or have any doubt that it matters that they are here,
No one deserves to disappear.”
-Dear Evan Hansen (Disappear)
“Even when the dark comes crashing through,
When you need a friend to carry you,
When you’re broken on the ground,
You will be found.
So let the sun come streaming in,
Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again,
Lift your head and look around,
You will be found.”
-Dear Evan Hansen (You Will Be Found)
Sincerely, Elizabeth (the Uncustomary Housewife)
Read my follow-up post; 10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say, by clicking HERE. In the follow-up post I be share 10 reassuring things (plus some bonus material) that I need to hear from my friends and loved ones.
You can connect with the Uncustomary Housewife on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also subscribe to the Uncustomary Housewife Blog.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES: Every time you call out, you’re a little less alone. You matter, and you deserve support. For a list of mental health support systems and online communities, visit; Uncustomary Housewife – Mental Health Support Systems and Communities.
Thank you for this! People may see us on the outside as “appearing” to look normal, but on the inside there’s a war going on. Sometimes we’re just trying to keep it all together. I know the feeling, because I deal with PTSD. Stay strong, and know that you’re not alone…their is strength in numbers. If you have a moment, please check out my site; https://www.thehappinessproject.net. Thank you in advance.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your kind feedback. I really appreciate it. You are correct, remembering that we’re not alone is very, very important. However, it is far too easy to forget. Actually, I recently launched the Not Alone Series on my blog. It is an interview series that allows individuals to tell their mental health stories, so other people can read them and remember that they are not alone. Additionally, I wrote a follow-up to this post; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want (and need) to hear from my friends and support systems. The very first one is “You are not alone”. So, I’m really glad that you mentioned that point in your comment. It is one of the most important things to remember. And thanks for linking to your blog, I’ll be sure to check it out.
Thank you for the in depth details of mental health. Alot of people are very much uneducated when it comes to mental health. But you’ve made this post very educational for those struggling to wrap they’re heads around mental health. God bless your heart.
Thank you. That’s one of the main reasons that I write: to (hopefully) educate people. I appreciate your kind comment. Also, speaking of education, I wrote this blog to talk about the things I don’t want said to me… but soon after I wrote a follow-up; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want (and need) to hear from my friends and support systems. You can find it on my blog (in case you’re interested in reading it too). It’s probably a little more educational than this post.
I think this is something everyone should be aware about…so that we don’t put people through more pain than they are in already. Thank you for sharing !!
Thank you for the kind comment. I appreciate it, truly. You were correct, in your comment, when you said that people should understand these things, so they don’t further injure people struggling with mental illness. I appreciate that point, and I agree. I wrote a follow-up to this post; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want (and need) to hear from my friends and support systems. It builds on this post, in a really positive way.
Yes very true
Very well written & explained… My mother has bipolar… And I can understand… And really hope people at least try to understand it more because I know they just don’t care at least in India… God bless you always
Thank you, so very much, for you kind comment and feedback. I really appreciate it. I hope, that someday, more people care. That’s one of the reasons I’m sharing my story — to spread awareness in the hope that more people will become educated and open. With that being said, I wore a follow-up to this post; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want (and need) to hear from my friends and support systems. I would be interested in hearing your view of it, as someone from a different country. What type of things does your mother like/need to hear?
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Such an honest and heart-felt post! Thank you for sharing all of this and for helping to educate those who don’t understand the devastating impacts of off-handed comments.
I have struggled with depression (and/or maybe bipolar 2… The jury is still out) for most of my life, have seen counselors, have been on and off medications… And it is amazing the things people say, the suggestions they give, the implied judgements. Christians have been some of the people who have hurt me the most with their comments of prayer and the devil. The implication that I was doing something wrong, that if I was more spiritual I could win this fight. I was deeply emmeshed in a church and ministry, and the people I trusted the most gave me the impression that if I had more faith or prayed more I wouldn’t be so ‘down’. And I know people are broken and sinful, but there really does need to be some awareness brought into Christian circles about the reality of mental illness.
Anyway, I digress. Point is, thanks for the honesty, the well written post, and for continuing to be here. ❤ You’re making a difference and tomorrow needs you.
Thank you very much for your kind comment and honesty. I’m really sorry about the implied judgement situation, it’s something I hear about far too often (and have dealt with myself). I actually wrote a follow-up to this post, “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I mention the comment “I’ll be praying for you”, and what it means to me. I sort of readdress the topic, and elaborate on it. It could be something that you’re interested in. I do believe, that with more awareness, people can start better understanding mental illness… at least, I hope.
I did actually read that post too and absolutely loved it. It was a perfect follow up post with some really great suggestions. Keep up the great writing!
Wow! Thank you, so much for reading it too. It means a lot to me. I appreciate it.
These words should be heard. People need to understand. I am going through some problems which may not be big for others but they are mentally troubling me. This blog made me feel a little better about my situation and thanks to you for that. Amazing use of words.
I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through some problems right now, but I’m very glad to hear that my blog made you feel better. I want to say, though, you’re problems are valid. You mentioned that “they may not be big”, but if they are bothering you, and your mental health, then they are big. I have a few other things on my blog, in particular, that you might be interested in. I’ll add some links below.
I wrote a follow-up to this post; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want (and need) to hear from my friends and support systems. You can find it on my blog (in case you’re interested in reading it too). I actually talk about feelings being made valid, which could be something you’d be interested in reading; https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/2018/04/20/10-reassuring-things-i-want-to-hear-you-say-mental-health-awareness/
I recently launched the Not Alone Series on my blog. It is an interview series that allows individuals to tell their mental health stories on my blog and social network platforms. If you’re interested, you should absolutely check it out. You’ll find that a lot of people “believe their problems aren’t big”… but everyone deserves to be validated; https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/category/not-alone-series/
I really, really hope you’re doing well.
Thank you. I’ll for sure read it.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I have heard those comments or statements over and over all my life. How you described the manic period is spot on, so exact, I’ve never heard anyone describe it as well as you do, that is how it feels and no people who don’t have manic episodes will never understand or want one. Thank you and so proud of you for doing this. xx
I appreciate your kind comment, and feedback. However, I’m really sorry that you’ve had to hear statements like the ones I explained in this post. I’m not sure if it will help, but I wrote a follow-up to this post where I explain things that I want to hear. I talk more about mania and some things that really, really hep me during my manic attacks. I also give more “mania examples”… and talk more about how mania makes me feel; https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/2018/04/20/10-reassuring-things-i-want-to-hear-you-say-mental-health-awareness/ Maybe it will help you. I hope you are doing well.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it.
By far the worst I hear from people commenting on my anxiety issues : “Grow a pair”, “Don’t be scared”, “Be brave”.
As if doing those things never struck my mind!
I’m so sorry that you have to hear comments like that. Men, oftentimes, have it a lot harder when it comes to mental health. You can be a strong man, and have anxiety… you don’t need to “grow a pair”. Your feelings are valid. I’m really sorry.
Thanks a lot for those kind words. Really helps a lot when people relate.
💜💜💜💜 thank you for writing this
Thank you for reading it.
Very well said… You are a strong woman, more power to you 💕
Tank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.
This is an amazing post. And you sound like you will make an amazing mother. Take care.
That is so kind. Thank you, so very much!
People always try to find a reason or a simple solution to other people’s problems. Not always, as You said, is that simple; just the one who suffers can see how the world looks like from the insides, looking through the window. I just can say, if it helps in any way, that we all suffer, in different ways, but not all is sorrow; you have, paper and pen, your writing style, that makes you “spet those soft words violently out” that help so many people’s minds. Some of us came to suffer just to help others out. Keep understanding how you are, not fighting against you; live a life that, even with your current MH, you wouldn’t change.
With love #thenonewriter
Thank you so much for the kind comment, and I appreciate your point, that “people always try to find a reason or a simple solution to other people’s problems”. That is very true (sadly). Actually, I wrote a ollow-up to this post; “10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say”. In the follow-up I explain things that I want to hear from my friends and support systems. As I think about it, the list is full of statements that accept my problems, instead of trying to fix them. So, your point stands. If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s the direct link; https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/2018/04/20/10-reassuring-things-i-want-to-hear-you-say-mental-health-awareness/
loved this! so relatable
Thank you for reading, I appreciate it.
Thanks for sharing such personal things!!
Thank you for reading, and commenting.
Your post resonates with me in so many ways. A few years back I had a severe manic episode. My entire family was making fun of me, accusing me of being on drugs and every other hurtful thing u can imagine. One can never understand what a person with mental illness goes through until they have been there themselves. Thank you for the courage to share
I’m so sorry that you had to experience that. That’s actually one of the reasons I write; because many people don’t understand what a manic episode is like… I want to write it all down so people can read it and understand. Far too often people don’t understand things like mania, which causes them to say really insensitive things. I try to remember that they don’t understand my situation, but it isn’t easy. Speaking of family, and the way they handle mental illness/mania; I wrote a follow-up to this post, where I talk about the things I wish my family would say. You might be interested in reading it. I talk more about mania, and how my friends and family handle the situations; https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/2018/04/20/10-reassuring-things-i-want-to-hear-you-say-mental-health-awareness/
I could not have said it better myself tbh
Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate it, and your kind words.
I love this and relate so much, thank you for putting this out there.
Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it.
These are excellent! I’ve had depression and most recently postpartum depression and it especially bothers me when I hear people say, “Pray harder” or “You don’t really have a mental illness.” Just as you said, this is something we live with until the Lord calls us home and a chemical imbalance. It’s how God made us to use us for His glory. Great post!
Thank you for sharing.I’ve literally learned a lot.
The person and the masks.
And you know what, we don’t need to get rid of them, we need to learn to manage them.
Nurture our brains and ensure we take each day as it comes.
You’re not alone. X
I trully believe that you are capable to be a mother 😊. Keep fighting 😘💕
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Thank you so much for this! I have CPTSD among other physical and mental illnesses and I have had several people say all of these to me and my thoughts were similar to yours. My favorite thing that someone said to me was, “You’re acting like this is all in your head!” and I responded, “That’s because it is. That’s what mental illness means!” People don’t understand what they’ve never experienced and what they can’t see. It’s one reason why I started my blog. To help people understand things from different points of view that they may not have seen or been exposed to before.This world would be a far different place if people learned how to show empathy and compassion instead of judgement and condemnation.
Its hard for many people to understand mental illness like physical illness…just autism hard for people to understand if there is no physical sign of illness…I like your honesty.
Thank you so much for sharing I can absolutely relate and wish more people understood !!
People do travel in their wavelength, not understanding everyone has a different root to stand and a different demon to slay, Kudos on your efforts and your resilience
I agree so much with all of these. The amount of people who believe “you don’t look/seem mentally ill” is a compliment, or those who claim not to be “the type of person who would ever have mental health problems”?? Maybe because there is no “type”? Like you say, if you slot in another term it becomes ridiculous- for example, I’ve never broken a bone, but I’d sound like an idiot saying I never will as I’m just not the type!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve actually suffered with muscle/joint pain and other physical issues during times of high anxiety and I didn’t realise how the two could be related. It’s brilliant to see someone raising these issues and hopefully raising awareness too!
Well said!! Thank you!!❤️
Excellent post, raising awareness..
Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts with us. I’m so sorry people have said this to you. I have a few friends who also have invisible illnesses and people have unfortunately told them the same. There’s nothing worst than being told that you look fine when deep down you’re in agony. (Revelation 21:4). You’re very brave! Keep inspiring!
Thank you for sharing.
You had me laughing(at the volleyball story) and crying!! I didn’t think I was struggling any longer but may have to rethink some things since some of what you’re mentioning physically strikes a chord.
I just came in here to share with others as much of my story as I can so I can help others.
Thank you for being so open with your readers. It’s a brave thing to allow others into your life and see the darkest parts of you.
This is brilliantly written and relatable in a lot of places. Shocked at some of the insensitive and ignorant comments people will make though!
Thanks for sharing! ❤
Its not only about praying, it is about your faith. You are really a strong woman and brave too.
Very beautifully written article. I can relate to it too! So impressive! Thank you for sharing! Please do visit https://abhishekbubna.com/2018/07/26/vitiligo-you-are-beautiful-in-both-the-colours/
A little story shared!
Great article! People don’t mean any harm when they say these things, they just don’t understand. It needs people like you to explain why these comments hurt.
You should be thankful that despite all of your difficulties you are able to make such a difference.
Really well said. I agreed to most of the things you wrote. Really great article
Amazing post from the heart. Thanks for taking the time to share. All the best.
Such a well-written piece! I’ve heard most of these but had not heard the “You need a hobby” one. Thank you for your bravery in sharing this!
Reblogged this on Penny Wilson Writes and commented:
I’ve blogged on mental illness on occasion here. Please read Elizabeth’s enlightening piece below.
Thank you for sharing this. I now have a better understanding of depression and anxiety which my daughter suffers from. She is a single mother and it is difficult at times for her. I love my grandson but there are times when I do think that she doesn’t cope with him very well. Other times he is her saviour. It’s a hard decision to make.
Why those things hurt you
I explain it, clearly in the post. Did you read it?
Thank you for this. It was so insightful and refreshing and is something we must try and talk about more. You should be so proud of yourself for your honesty and bravery xx
Thank you! I’ve been looking for this to share with my best friend….I understand and yes you are not alone. I believe God is using your kind heart. Your words are proof of that.
Loved your blog.
Gosh! Such an inspiring post!
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