Holidays and customary social gatherings can be tough on mental health. So, I want to offer some mental health advice to friends and loved ones. I recently published two vulnerable and very important mental health awareness blog posts; I shared some serious truths about my life with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression. I shared this information publicly for two reasons; (1) to educate people who don’t understand mental illness, and (2) to show people like me that they are not alone.
Now, I’m sharing again. In this post you will find two lists; (1) A list of reassuring things that I want to hear from my friends and loved ones, and (2) A list of seemingly harmless comments that hurt me, and my mental health. You can view both lists here. You can also read detailed explanations for each statement by visiting my original blog posts; links attached.
Words matter. Comments matter. So, this holiday season please be conscious of your words. They might have a huge impact on someone who is living with mental illness. Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive, wrote; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can lead to years of irreparable damage, anxiety disorder, and a tendency to alcoholism.” I agree, words are powerful.
10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say
- You are not alone. / I’m here for you.
- What can I do to help you? / Is there anything I can do?
- Your feelings are valid. / Your feelings matter.
- You won’t always feel this way. / This is temporary.
- Take your time. / There is no need to rush.
- Talk to me, I’m listening. / I’m always here, in case you want to talk.
- I’ll support you, / I’ll be there for you, no matter what.
- What kind of thoughts are you having? / How are you feeling today?
- I’m glad you’re in my life. / I’m happy that we’re friends.
- I care about you. / I love you.
To read the unabridged version of this list, complete with detailed explanations, and bonus content, you can visit the original post; 10 Reassuring Things I Want to Hear You Say: Mental Health Awareness.
10 “Harmless Things” You Say That Hurt Me
- You don’t look like you have a mental illness.
- I wish I was manic; I’d get so much done.
- You just need a hobby.
- Have you tried praying about it? / You need to pray harder.
- Everybody gets sad/stressed sometimes, it doesn’t mean you have a mental illness.
- But your life is perfect, you have nothing to be depressed about.
- You must be manic right now.
- At least there’s nothing physically wrong with you.
- Have you tried herbal remedies?
- Good thing you’re not a mother, you wouldn’t be able to handle it.
To read the unabridged version of this list, complete with detailed explanations, you can visit the original post; 10 Harmless Things You Say That Hurt Me: Mental Health Awareness.
If You Are Struggling…
Depression is real. Thoughts of worthlessness feel real. Self-doubt feels real. These emotions can feel heightened over the holidays. The realness and validity of these emotions can make us forget that hope is also real; this type of forgetfulness terrifies me. Please, always remember: everything is temporary, and hope is real. During bad times, things can seem unmovable and debilitating. But the bad is temporary. It will pass eventually. Good will come. The best part: when the good comes, the bad will fade away, the bad will become a fleeting memory. What seems unmovable now, will be easily forgotten later.
During the holidays, make your mental health a priority. There is an entire world full of people who are on your team. Never, ever, ever, give up. You matter.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife