Sh*t People Say to People with Mental Illness 

“We all get the blues!” 

You: Um, so… I can’t function on a daily basis. I’m on the floor right now, unable to move. I’ve been sobbing for so long that I can’t breathe. This is my everyday. This is NOT “the blues.” 

“Just be strong and put on a smile.” 

You: Obviously I’ve tried that. I’ve gone to the Olive Garden and eaten breadsticks and spaghetti like a champ, talked about the weather, and smiled my best smile (while simultaneously losing it inside) 30 mins at table smiling, 4 mins in bathroom crying, back to table smiling for another 15. “Check please.” I’m trying so hard. Thanks for making me feel worse about myself and like I’m weak. I’m already ashamed. 

“My cousin cured her depression by eliminating gluten.”

You: Ya, so you’re making me feel worse. *cries and eats almond flower cookie* 

“This will be your new doctor- he’s a 25-year-old resident!” (Nurse voice) 

You: Ok, thanks. 

“Hi- I’m James! I love working with bipolar people.” (Resident voice)  

You: Um. It’s “people with bipolar..” You know- person first? 

“What? So, you’re taking an SNRI?” (Resident voice) 

You: This is an SSRI. 

“Oh. Opps! My bad.” (Resident voice) 

You: Yay! I feel like I’m in such good hands :/ 

“Have you tried yoga and nutrition?”

You: Yes. I’m in chronic, debilitating emotional pain that tortures me. Of course I’ve tried everything on the planet. 

“But have you REALLY tried daily cardio, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, amino acids, fish oil, herbs…” 

You: Yes. *walks away and cries more* 

“But you don’t look like a person with mental illness…” 

You: Thanks for letting me know you are stigmatizing us. Right on. 

“Don’t go crazy and kill me or anything!” 

You: You’re ignorance about what mental illness is = appalling. This is why we hide. 

“I’m sorry- that won’t be covered by your insurance.” (Unkind insurance company person voice) 

You: *worries more, cries* Looks at bills.. *cries more*

“I need your social!” (Annoyed secretary voice) 

You: Ok- here it is. 

“I need your insurance info!” (Annoyed secretary voice) 

You: Let me find it *voice breaks, crying* 

“We don’t have any appointments open for three months.” 

You: *heart sinks into stomach* 

“I don’t take any insurance. It’s self pay.” (Snobby psychiatrist voice) 

You: Ok, you only help rich people.. Cool. 

“You shouldn’t take medication. Those are so unnatural.” 

You: Remember when you went to the doctor last year for the broken leg and got a cast? You should have poured herbs on your leg. Extra oregano. It was weak for you to get the treatment for your leg. 

 “The insurance companies are evil and put everyone on mind numbing drugs!” 

You: I don’t feel numb. I feel OK for once- like I can get out of bed and make eggs. 

“These medications are overprescribed! Sadness teaches us important life lessons and people miss these with medication!” 

You: They might be overprescribed but this doesn’t mean the people who need them should not be prescribed them. If doctors gave everyone insulin would you say no one should have it- even the people with diabetes? We aren’t talking “dark night of the soul” here. We are talking unable to leave the house. We are talking people killing themselves. 

“Have you read The Secret?” (Bubbly certified life coach) You attracted your depression! 

You: Oh weird… I thought it was my genes. So I’m responsible for my illness.. Silly me!

“You have to think positive!” 

You: I try so hard. I say a positive thought and immediately my mind snaps back with a negative one, 100 times as loud, like a reflex that I can’t control. It’s constant shouting that I can’t quiet. Of course I try everything to control it. My brain eats my happy thoughts like Cookie Monster eats cookies. 

“Let’s talk about something else like.. A sale at The Gap!” (Weirded out “friend” voice)

You: Thanks for changing the subject so I feel even more shame and am more likely not to be open about what I’m going through. “Omg! What’s on sale!?” *heart breaks, embarrassed* 

“Mental ill depressed person kills 7 people with a rusty chain saw!!!!” (Intense news anchor voice) 

You: Thanks for perpetuating the stigma and making us out to be monsters! People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crimes then commit them- and are not more violent then the general population. 

“Have you tried vitamins?” 

You: *runs for the hills”

“My uncle’s cousin’s brother was like… Schizophrenic.. ? And like.. He killed a cat… I think.. ? So this is really important to me..? Because.. I love animals?” (Very confused volunteer voice)

You: Everything you say sounds like a question? 

These are mine so far! What are crappy things people say to you? 
Let’s break the stigma together! Yay! 

*ps fortunately I have found the right medication and live a happy, fulfilling life. I pray that you do, too. It IS possible and things get better! I still can’t stand when people say things like this and it makes me super sad. I’m starting to just stand up for myself or walk away if someone can’t understand. I deserve to have my voice heard. We deserve to challenge and change the stigmatization of mental illness! 

* I don’t give medical/psychological advice because I’m not qualified- I’m a writer! 😀 Please get help if you are struggling! You deserve to be at peace! 

* If you break your leg go to the doctor. No oregano treatments, k? 

So much love! Rachie 

153 thoughts on “Sh*t People Say to People with Mental Illness 

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