Anxiety and depression are some of the most common mental disorders; not just in the United States, but all over the world. It is likely that you or someone that you are close to suffers from a mental health issue. Luckily, we live in a day in age where people are doing their best to raise awareness for mental health. However, regardless of the awareness, the issue remains that if you don’t experience the mental disorder yourself it can be very difficult for you to know the right things to say to that person much less understand what they are going through. Unless you are a professional therapist in Carrolton, the best thing you can do is remember that their pain is real, simply listen and tell the person that you will try to understand.
- “It’s all in your head”
When you tell someone that it is all in their head, there is not a productive outcome. This only implies that you find their circumstances made up or easily resolved, when this is actually not the case for a person suffering from the mental health disorder. Instead of telling someone that it is all in their head, know that you can’t truly understand where they are coming from and rather say, “I will try my best to understand.”
- “But you have so much to be thankful for”
Regardless of if someone has nice things, close family and friends, a good job or a nice car, this success is separate from the feelings that come alongside a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety.Pain is different from person to person, regardless of their situation, so it doesn’t mean it hurts less for someone who appears to have a successful life. Mental disorders come in an array of categories or types and very often one’s mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety, is about the build, structure, and chemistry of their brain, and not always their situation.
- “I went through the same thing…”
It is natural as humans to try and relate to other humans, but this isn’t the best way to approach speaking to someone who is suffering from a mental health issue. Sometimes this attempt to relate can come off as a person trying to “one up” or compete with the person and can make the other person feel defensive rather than comforted. Each person’s situation is their own and should be treated as so.
- “You’re just looking for attention”
It is important to remember that it is impossible to 100% understand how someone feels and what they are going through. Situations vary, and unless you are inside that person’s head and heart you won’t be able to understand exactly what they are going through; which is why you don’t have the right to claim they are doing something for attention. Even if a person tends to do things for attention, that doesn’t discredit that they may be suffering from a mental disorder that truly does make them feel or act a certain way.
- “It could be worse”
If this is true or not, it never will make someone feel better. The fact is that this person is feeling pain and knowing other’s may be going through something worse isn’t going to make their pain any less. This only put’s the person down further in making them feel guilty or like their pain doesn’t matter. You should rather say, “what you’re going through is real, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.”
- “Stop being crazy”
Calling someone crazy will never be helpful. This phrase is often tossed around without thought or bad intention, but it can be very harmful. You should avoid any derogatory terms such as crazy, victim, etc. Calling someone crazy who has a mental disorder implies discredit of the pain that they are feeling and the pain that is very real to them.
- “Everything will be okay”
If a person is suffering from depression or anxiety they are not able to see that “everything will be okay.” If a person doesn’t believe that it will be okay, telling them that it will only lead to frustration and a feeling of isolation for them. If you aren’t sure what to say, that’s okay. Often the best thing you can do is just listen and let the person tell you what’s on their heart and mind.
If you think that you or a loved one may have a mental health disorder such as depression, or anxiety, the best thing you can do is seek the help of a trusted professional. Here at Lifeworks, we specialize in mental health counseling in Carrolton and want to help. Take steps towards healing and come see one of our caring and expert team members by contacting us today.