Stop Minimizing Mental Illness: Worst Things to Say
I feel, sometimes, that I am at war with the mentally-well world. This isn’t to say that many of them aren’t lovely or that I have a desire to harm anyone, but I do feel embroiled. And it’s mostly because the well population just doesn’t understand what it is to be unwell. They demonstrate this heartily by repeatedly saying the worst things possible to a person with a mental illness.
Worst Things to Say to a Person With a Mental Illness
Here are some of my favorite worst things to say to a depressed person or really anyone with a mental illness.
- Snap out of it
- There are a lot of people worse off than you
- You have so many things to be thankful for, how can you be depressed?
- You’d feel better if you got off all those pills
- What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger
- Go out and have some fun
- I know how you feel
- So you’re depressed, aren’t you always?
- This too shall pass
- We all have our crosses to bear
And as a bonus, my personal favorite: We create our own reality.
Ugh. (I'm not the only one thinking about this, check out the worst things to say to anxious people.)
Why These are Stupid Things to Say
Any of those statements shows that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You fundamentally do not understand the concept of a mental illness if you think any one of these are appropriate. I suggest trying it with other physical health problems and see how you feel:
Hey, diabetic, snap out of it.
Hey, epileptic, I know how you feel.
Hey, paraplegic, so you can’t use your legs, isn’t that always the case?
Hey, person with multiple sclerosis, we create our own reality.
You get the idea. No one would think that is reasonable, and it’s no more reasonable just because you can’t see the illness because it’s in my brain.
These Are Hurtful Things to Say
And perhaps worse than showing ignorance, these things even inflict pain on the person you’re trying to “help”. You are saying that:
- They could choose not to be sick if they really wanted
- Their illness is not serious
- They have no “reason” to be ill
- Their treatment is wrong
- They’ll be better off from it
- They would be fine if they would just “go out”
- Their illness is minimal
- Their pain doesn’t matter
- They should just wait for the pain to end
- Their illness is just like anyone else’s problem
- They choose to be sick
Again, I dare you to tell a person with any other illness any of those things.
And lest we forget, the mentally ill person in front of you is already probably feeling very bad about themselves, and you have chosen to go and make it worse.
Let’s Not Forget, People Die From Mental Illness
The idea that mental illness is serious isn’t something that I made up, it is a fact. Estimates are 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder commit suicide and 1 in 2 people (yes, that’s half) attempt it. And, of course, there are hospitalizations, work absences, destroyed families, having to go on disability, and so on. This is serious stuff people. It is not a runny nose.
Why Do People with Mental Illness Have to Justify Themselves?
Why is it that just because I see a psychiatrist and you see a neurologist your disease is real and mine is not? Why is it you assume I can will my disease away while you can’t? Why is it that you can expect me to bring you chicken soup when you get the flu but when I get sick I can’t even expect that you’ll stick around?
I do understand that people don’t know they are being hurtful. People are trying to help. I get it. But here’s the thing, my illness is just as real as anyone else’s. Please stop forcing me to convince you.
Update: Check out the best things to say to someone with a mental illness.
Tracy, N. (2010, September 7). Stop Minimizing Mental Illness: Worst Things to Say, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/09/stop-minimizing-mental-illness-worst-things-to-say
Author: Natasha Tracy
Thank-you so much. I'm glad my writing helps.
I'm not a big fan of the “If you are brought to it, you can get through it” I think it diminishes what people go through. A rhyme doesn't really solve a problem. Of course, you can always take the parts of AA that work for you and leave the rest. Just because they have their own book doesn't make them right all the time.
(There is also SMARTRecovery. I don't know if you've ever looked into them but I gather they have chapters in many places. http://www.smartrecovery.org/ )
No, I'm not really looking to trade lives. We all have our challenges but at least I'm acquainted with mine. It's good to hear you have cheerleaders. They rock.
I'm 20 years sober, and I've been told if I work the steps hard enough or be of service a bit more, REALLY turn my life over to god and be truthful and be totaly honest that these defects of character will be removed. "If you are brought to it, you can get through it" I don't know how many time I've come close to picking up that big book in a meeting and throwing it across the room and saying, "FUCK ALL YA'ALL" ( that would be my wicked bi-polar) maybe not?
I'm seeing my Dr. on the 8th. My dog Lilly still lays by my side all day if I need her too, and my girlfriend of 16 years still loves and reminds me that I can just "go with it" she never knows who she's gonna wake up next to, I'm thinking she kindda likes it, goin' to bed with one woman and waking up with some one completely different in the morning. OH, and don't get me started on our kids,they both are specail needs the girl is developmentally disabled and mild autistic, the boy is the same but he has tourette's, favorite word..fuck.
SO....wanna trade lives? No never. I got my cheerleaders. And if you need one, I'll be yours ANYTIME.
P.S. did I go off topic? SORRY :)
That is emotional abuse. Plain and simple. Your husband has found a sore spot and presses it to abuse and manipulate you. That is not right and you deserve better.
What your husband is doing could be about anything. You could be on a diet so he calls you "a pig" because he knows it will hurt you. What about if you were sensitive because you were losing your hair to cancer treatment so he called you "baldie." That's all abuse plain and simple.
He's _trying_ to hurt you. Which is unacceptable.
This isn't about your illness this is about his behavior and his abuse. Even if you get through to him and he never says "you're bipolar" as an insult to you ever again, if he wants to hurt you, he will find another way.
Please, please, please get help. You need therapy. You need people to backstop you. You need people who can see this for what it is: abuse. Get couple's counselling so you can express yourself in a safe environment and you can work together towards a more positive way of communicating, if that is possible.
You are not crazy. Your feelings are real and deserve validation. No one has the right to use an illness against you.
(This has ticked me off so much I might do a video on it.)
EVERY time my husband and I have a disagreement or argument, he starts calling me, "Bipolar", and saying things like, "Have you taken your medication today"? Or "Have you stopped taking your medication?" In other words, this is the reason, (and only reason) that we have any kind of disagreement, or argument. Everything that I say, or do, that is not something he agrees with, he starts saying hurtful things like that. He calls me "Bipolar" every time he gets angry with me.
I have asked my Doctor if he has diagnosed me as being Bipolar, and he said, "Absolutely Not". He told me that I have "major depression, and anxiety".
I can't even describe how angry it make me when my husband starts with these comments. I honestly don't think ANYTHING has ever made me so angry. It makes me feel totally helpless because I don't even have the words to defend myself. He has told a few other people that I have this "problem", and even if I denied it, they wouldn't believe me because they know I'm taking mediation for depression. This situation makes me feel like I am totally trapped, and don't have anyway to let everyone know that I am not "Crazy", (as he calls it). He knows that a psychiatrist is prescribing these meds to me, and the Doc has told him my diagnosis, but he keeps insisting that I am Bipolar. Which to him may as well be the same thing as "Schizophrenic" I wish I had never told the doctor that I am depressed. Or I wish I had never told my husband that I am being treated for depression. If I had known that he was going to use it against me, I would have kept my mouth shut.
Has anyone of you had this problem, and if so, what did you do about it?
About a year ago- I asked my parents to watch a dvd that had the best explanations I had at the time. It outlined all the types of depression, the diff treatments, the symptoms, and it documented ppls recovery. It made it real to them to hear it/see to from someone other than me. They still don't get it fully, but they get that its real. Progress.
And, in really giving it some thought- you cant see Diabetes- heart disease- and some other illnesses. You can see their symptoms but not the disease its self. So whats the diff.
During manic phases, I do recall thinking that myself, in some form or another. The world would be mine, once everyone saw what was quite literally, killing me to get out. So many wonderful ideas, images and designs just waiting...and waiting. If only I was strong enough to dare open that little box I keep locked away in a dark, hopelessly unforgotten, secret place of my psyche. If only I could draw on the pain inside of that little box of memories and self-loathing. The ensuing masterpieces would surely cause me to be admired and revered well into my next life! Thankfully, and quite surprised, I'm still here here in this one.
A struggling artist. Although the accolades from those few who have seen my work, from time to time, were swift and sincere, unfortuneately my ability to produce more is not so swift. Dark depths of depression are not by any means motivating and the yet unformed masterpieces in my mind lie in fear, hiding from the world in an ever growing cocoon of self-doubt. The few pieces that have managed to be born, in varying stages of mania, sit cracked and broken upon my studio shelves...too many to complete or too detailed to complete before drying. My magical place, my studio, it comes alive in the shadows of night with the shards of many clay dreams, at one time formed with mounting desire and reckless abandon.
A starving artist...a minimal disability pension provides for plenty of time, usually too much or not enough but insists also on a not so delicate choice between food or the meds that will help keep me forever spiralling, in this creatively blessed life.
Thank you for such an honest and eye opening post Natasha and for the comments by so many others. I am reminded that I am not alone. And I am inspired...I have possibly just begun another book. Maybe this one will see completion some day ;)
I am a quick switching Bi-Polar with Social Phobia.
I got that "melodramatic" thing too. "Drama queen." "Too emotional." "Taking things too personally."
If you ask me, all ways of dismissing someone's genuine feelings. And in my case, it was really reinforced by two brothers and father and then it became a male-female thing. "Oh look at her, just like a girl." That sort of thing.
So yes, I felt left out and ostracized too. I couldn't "play with the boys," as it were.
But here, you are not left out, you are left in. Welcome.
“You’re living on a disability pension, eh? Must be like a long vacation!”
I haven't seen that (although I'm not on disability) but I could see a person saying it. Tell them, yes it's like a vacation where you have the flu everyday. And we all know how fun that is.
"invisible illness" ... I have to admit that I feel a strange relief/not-relief in having something “evident” (lab results) to “prove” the reality of long-term illness."
I can totally identify with that. It's something we all long for, even if it truely doesn't really mean anything except to uncaring others.
Lazy is definitely in there. Lots of comments :) and yes I know how we hurl that one at ourselves too when things get bad, unfortunately.
"You're living on a disability pension, eh? Must be like a long vacation!"
@Jenn -- I used to get the "lazy" label a lot as a teenager. "Lazy and irresponsible" was the usual pairing.
I've seen, lately, a term that is cropping up more and more --> "invisible illness." Talk about a contradiction in terms! I have lived with various intensities of major depression, PTSD, sleep disorders, and anxiety disorders all my life, and now, in my 50s, the metabolic distress is showing up in blood tests. There's no either/or in illness, and I have to admit that I feel a strange relief/not-relief in having something "evident" (lab results) to "prove" the reality of long-term illness.
@Natasha, thank you for this article ... It's a keeper.
No one's every said it outright to me, but I've certainly felt that attitude.
And I shovel it onto myself with vigor when I am in a funk.
It sounds like you have a tough situation there.
First, definitely get a format mental health assessment. I certainly can't tell what disorder you may or may not have, but simply being emotionally reactive doesn't mean you have bipolar. You are in a stressful situation and that can lead anyone to be a bit sensitive.
You have identified your in-laws as an issue. I can understand that is important in a marriage, certainly. But you might consider just focusing on what you need to do for yourself right now, and handle outside issues as they come.
If you are concerned you have a mental illness, you need to see a doctor who can do a mental health assessment. Simply tell your doctor everything you're concerned about, all your moods and answer his/her questions honestly and they can give you a more accurate picture of what's going on.
Additionally or alternatively, I would recommend counseling. At this point you have so many swirling issues that even if you were to be diagnosed and treated, that wouldn't fix what is going on around you, but therapy can teach you more about yourself and can teach you tools and skills to handle outside issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one option if you have someone in your area who is experienced in it. Couples therapy might also help you and your husband to communicate through these issues and understand each other better.
You've spent some time in this situation and it's going to take some time to get out, but getting professional help and learning new skills can help you start addressing some of these issues.
I do think that I am I am bipolar, because of my mood swings.
I have always feel different then other people around me.
I am currently married to a wonderful man and I have two kids.
Because of the way I am, my in laws are making my life hell, they want my husband to leave me because I am not good enough for him, because I dont work and help hubby with money, my father in law thinks that a woman should help with 50% with the household expenses, that they have to always be available to help no matter what, he is os used to all this his wife has been his servant for too many years and he treats her so badly and puts up with him. They talk behinn my back they say i am antisocial, arrogant, lack of motivation, an obstacle for his son future, that they will help him to get the kids, they hate me so much. He discriminates me because I come from a poor family. The funny things is He did to but has forgotten that. I hate the fact that that they constantly comparing me to their other daughter in law. She is the opposite of me. what hurts me the most is that somehow they do have influence on my husband and he sometimes makes my life difficult. The main problem here is my father in law. My husband has over the years has come to accept the way I am. But he hasnt lose hope that I will change the way I am.
Yes I am arrogant only to people that deserves it, I find this the best way to keep them far away from and not get me hurt.
I am nice person deep down, but I struggle with my mood swings, irritability, deppression, sadness, lack of motivation., over sensitiveness.
I dont get racing thoughts or mania. I believe I have rapid cycling bipolar. I could be happy one minute and the next unhappy. I could get upset easily by people comments about me. Why do I care so much about that. They dont support us in any way, so why Do I give a dawn.
I know my husband loves me, but I wish I could change my behaviour.
He thinks that I dont care about what people think of me,
He thinks that I am strong but I am not, I am very weak and vunerable.
Its just so sad that even if I get diagnose I could never tell him, he will not understand. Hubby has in many ways made feel really bad because of his parents. He wants them to accept, how sad is that, I dont think that will happen.
Any tips on how to handle this situation with in laws, can anyone tell me the best way to get help to get diagnose.
Thank you so much for reading this.
I am desperate dont know what to do.
Glad to have you
"I know she did not mean to hurt my feelings but, she did. Some of my family think I make it all up and they worry about how it reflects on them."
Yup. That is the experience many of us have had.
"I think they should be more concerned with how their insensitivity and callousness reflects on them."
And that is a thought many of us have thought.
Thanks for sharing. It's a big boat we share.
If it was only that easy...lol I know she did not mean to hurt my feelings but, she did. Some of my family think I make it all up and they worry about how it reflects on them. I think they should be more concerned with how their insensitivity and callousness reflects on them.
I wish you all the best.
"I hated the “attention”- that was one of the worst things about it. And if I could stop alternately getting insanely angry and wanting to die, I WOULD!!!! I just don’t understand how someone can think that people *enjoy* mental illnesses, or that it’s our fault, or that we *like* it. I just can’t wrap my head around it."
It's incredibly invalidating to tell people that "they like it for the attention." Which _is_ nonsense. Attention-seeking behavior doesn't involve agony, but then, I support other assume the agony isn't real either.
When people try to invalidate you, it's just so they don't have to worry about you. (This is a guess in your father's case.) If they admit it's serious, then, well, it's serious, and no one wants to admit that. It's a terrible way of handling it on their part, but what can I say, it happens. There's no handbook for handling mental illness.
Rest assured, here, among others, you are validated. No one thinks you're crying for attention.
That always made me so, so angry. I hated the "attention"- that was one of the worst things about it. And if I could stop alternately getting insanely angry and wanting to die, I WOULD!!!! I just don't understand how someone can think that people *enjoy* mental illnesses, or that it's our fault, or that we *like* it. I just can't wrap my head around it.
Most people seem to view them as mere emotional swirls, and these perceptions cause the illness to deepen instead of recover.
Yes, I am the author of this blog, I do its moderation and so forth, but HealthyPlace actually owns it.
It's OK, no need to be sorry. The HealthyPlace folks are pretty laid back and they'd let me know if they weren't happy with something.
I'll get to your comment on the Burble in just a bit. :)
Uh oh, as I thought this was your blog, now I realize its not. Sorry. And sorry to the blog owner.
Just read your article on new age and ldeft a reply. What you wrote was great. Thanks!
Sorry to everyone else. I know I should ignore troll's but I have a habit of not knowing when to give up.
I as actually talking about my personal blog. I don't normally link to it from here, but since you asked :)
Please know that the Bipolar Burble is in no way affiliated with HealthyPlace.
I used to have a co-worker who was depressed and told her a variant of "this too shall pass", not because I thought I was making her feel better, but because I wanted her to shut up and stop annoying me.
BDD/Anorexia/Bulimia 'sufferers' are the worst; yeah you got a bit of a big nose/are chubby, no one cares.
I will never forget the woman who visited me in hospital after a suicide attempt and told me that a lot of people would be glad to have my illness if they could also have my talents. How utterly insensitive people can be, it is unconscionable to even think that way, let alone tell a mentally ill person such a think.
I would rather be a dishwasher or some other mundane job and no talent at all than have this illness.
Just one quick question. You mentioned an article you wrote on New Age thinking. It sounded right up my alley :). I searched but could not find it. If possible, could you post the link?
Actually our borderline personality disorder blogger talked about her battle with the church. You might want to check her out: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/
“everyone is a little bit bipolar”
Oh yes, I loathe that one, and "normal is only a setting on a washing machine".
No. You aren't. And it isn't.
This is an attempt to trivialize the strength and severity of this disease and it drives me bonkers.
You are the one who is sick. They may not understand it, but it's true. You can take heart in this though: many of us do understand. You might just not see us everyday.
Mmm, no, I say, its the 21st century, mental health care has changed loads in recent years.
Luckily Ive had some very good support from services, but have heard those stigmatising words, such as 'nutty' or 'crazy' from the 'uneducated.'
Things are improving slowly but surely and in UK there has been a big anti-stigma campaign for a few years now.
Its an illness like any other and more common than many people think.
And the New Age psychology is something I feel may have some truth in it but than when they see that, they try to 'convert' me. lol Much of it leaves too many with guilt for their own illness which is something I strongly disagree as true or healthy. I am looking forward to reading your blog on it and will do so soon.
Chrisa, Yes, trying to make us feel better hits the nail on the head. Thank you. You also mentioned: "Don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can handle" Excellent point! It can make one more weak, not stronger, to have it worded in that way. Loved your reply: "that makes me want to send you to Heaven to check and be sure." LOL Excellent.
ldycheroke57 you mentioned: " I was told often that “if you only had enough faith, God would heal you”. Someone whose husband had mental illness, than suddenly got better, she said it was because he became more spiritual. While I'm sure that helped, but I also found out he started to finally take medication. Yet she told me if only my daughter were more spiritual, than just as her husband has overcome his mental illness, so would she. I never agreed but it is startling to hear a comment suggestive that my daughter is not spiritual enough. Who can judge that anyway.
"everyone is a little bit bipolar” I had forgotten about that one. The first time I heard it, my natural immediate reaction was "No they're not (& this is a real disease)."
Basically a lot of the comments above, some I've heard but some I've not had the experience of - yet :), am beginning to wonder if a lot of it has to do with insufficient education about mental illness. When I bring up the topic to someone I almost always think how I will have to give them some education, that most will say something inaccurate. Patty Duke and others have encouraged educating the public and I agree, and do my best. But it seems endless. Is there never a time I can just sit back, mention something about my daughter having this disease and not get some inaccurate or insensitive response? I get tired of always having to educate. Begin to wonder if anyone is learning. Probably, it just feels the progress is very slow.
Thanks everyone for listening.
I found this wonderful site. Im 48, female in UK.
Basically about 14 years of depression, anxiety, self harm, drink and drug abuse and about 7 suicide attempts in all.
At first everyone was concerned but they drop off one by one especially noticeable on being admitted to hospital, 7 - 5 - until it would be just one, my wonderful father the last time I was admitted.
Ive been fairly fine for about 6 years after years of support from various mental health and drug services.
Then to cut a long story short in December my so-called now ex friend wasnt happy about something else entirely unrelated so thought it would be a good idea to drag it all up in phone texts for 2 hours, the most awful comments, saying Id nearly killed my Mum, everyone expected me to apologise, she wanted me to apologise, I should take the whole bottle, she didnt care any more, etc etc, nasty slightly sociapathic b...h!
Anyway, my mental health went totally downhill, but Im just starting to come through it...no some people dont get it at all.
As my oldest child who's 23, said, its all water under the bridge, I also said, with a half laugh, "I do apologise, I have hypothyroidism, it makes me a bit tired but there you go!"
Love to all xx
Another one: "remember, all things work together for (your) good."
I have plenty of faith, I get out of bed every morning (well, most mornings), don't I? I still believe in God and pray most days for strength to go on, but I don't attend church regularly any more. I just got tired of the judgement I felt at church. The worst criticism came from the clergy! The church needs to get a clue and quit marginalizing the mentally ill. It's as if they consider you an embarassment because you remain sick despite all their efforts to "heal" you or help you. Like a doctor who doesn't like to be reminded of his failures, you are dismissed and not really wanted around to remind them.
I'm sure not all churches are like this, there MUST be some compassionate and understanding christians out there, I just haven't really known any. The best thing to say to me on my bad days is, "I can't know how you feel, but I see that you're hurting and I care." You don't even have to be religious to be able to say that. Just don't quote scripture at me, because I can run circles around you with the Bible.
More great comments.
"Don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can handle or that there’s a special place in Heaven for me - that makes me want to send you to Heaven to check and be sure."
That one I may have to steal.
Thanks for chiming in.
I love that you've added to the list and you've addressed an area that I didn't, the: it's-great-to-be-crazy part.
For some reason every smart dead guy had a mental illness, which is magically diagnosed decades after death. While I have no doubt that the way I think is more creative than the average person, suggesting that just because I have some misfiring neurons I'm some kind of savant is rather nutty.
Oh, I wrote a whole piece about the new-age nonsense on my own blog. It's a real stick in my craw as well.
I'm glad you found writing it down helpful. Feel free to drop by and rant any time. We all need a safe space to do that and many of us know exactly how you feel.
Thanks for your comment.
Too often I also notice they have a philosophy about it, and that causes things to go deeper. I usually just stop the discussion at that point, but sure would be nice to have a little more of a support system than I have.
My daughters needs are less depression (tho that is there), and more mania. Therefore when I am told how unique she is, I'm sitting here worrying if she is going to drive her car off a cliff for example. So that's just not a helpful response.
In the above article etc some things not to say were listed. Might I add a few that get to me?
* I don't want to hear that Picasso was bipolar (suggestive my daughter is so lucky to be on the same level with Picasso). When she was first diagnosed some years ago, I read a web site composed by a bipolar lady. She said she was tired of people telling her she is now a genius, and that its not always true, tho she is smart, she'd give anything to just be normal, have a job, a good relationship, etc. And that it was too much pressure to be a genius.
* I don't want to hear any new age psychology that if she really didn't want to be bipolar, she would accept healing and let it go. (Her brain synapses etc are broken internally - which is not a choice.)
* I don't want to hear how I should let go since she is an adult now. (I live far away so its not that I have say over anything she does, & legally zero say. But to fully let go, who will get her out of trouble when she gets in it, or help her eventually get on her feet? No one has really come to her aid in years. Matter of fact, the few who tried, did not know what they were doing and quit fast.)
* I guess the biggest thing I don't want to hear is a reiteration of the first: how wonderful and unique and far-out she is because of bipolar, when in truth she is sick. I of course think my daughter is all those things, but I raised and saw her before she became ill, and those qualities were much more prominent at that time. All I want is to get her back, the real her.
Thank you for letting me say all this. Actually I feel better now, got that off my chest. :) So please don't anyone feel bad. I just seldom get to tell those things to anyone, and now that I have, I feel some genuine relief. Very few understand this and now I am speaking with those who do. Thank you!
And to those who get mad 'cause a lot of people with mental illnesses don't get the treatment they need, remember, oftentimes it's really not the mentally ill person's fault. Insurance companies rarely pay much, if anything, when it comes to psychiatric treatment, and said treatment gets pretty pricey as time wears on. Mental illness is not something that you can treat "in 4-8 sessions with a psychiatric professional". Anything that involves psychiatry and can be treated in the length of time many insurance companies allow is typically minor, such as recovering from the death of a hampster. Anything more serious requires continuous, long-term treatment with psychiatrists, psychologists, medication (which is costly in and of itself if your insurance chooses not to pay for it), and oftentimes such resources as social workers, outpatient therapy programs, or even recurring hospitalizations and/or emergency room admissions. And this treatment can take years, if not decades or even a lifetime; if it's all or mostly out-of-pocket, many people who are not wealthy have the choice of either paying such bills to the point of being severely destitute, of just "giving up" and learning to live a solitary, unhealthy life with a serious disorder.
Luckily for me, my husband is in the military, so I get quite a bit of treatment for free or almost free. I am currently pregnant, though, which means I've had to be off medication for the past 2/3 of a year, and just had to deal with hospitalizations every few months and serious bouts of mania or depression, without really any help (I was actually told, kinda snottily, during my last hospitalization by a nurse that I should just suck it up and deal with it, and to just shut up about it). When the baby is born next month, I get to go back on medication; however, this means I will be unable to breastfeed, much to the chagrin of many well-meaning but misinformed friends and extended family members. They believe that if I've been able to "go this long" without meds, I should be able to go forever without them! Too bad that being off my meds has been no darn picnic for anyone involved, and the last thing I want is for my daughter to grow up in an unstable home with an unstable mother, whose constant ups-and-downs are punctuated with time periods locked up in the hospital every once in a while.
But anyway. Good luck to everyone struggling with mental illness. Remember, roughly 1 in 4 people will suffer as a result of mental illness at some point in their lives; so, next time someone is a total jerk to you about your condition, just smile. Maybe one day they will know what it is like, and will end up becoming a staunch defender of you and your rights as a human being.
Yes, it's odd that being high-functioning comes with the added issue of not "looking sick" enough for people.
I am sorry things aren't working for you right now, many of us know how hard that can be and I completely understand the fear of changing meds (I wrote an article about it here).
I don't know about anyone who uses reproductive threats. Sounds like not-such-a-great person.
My case is high functioning Bipolar II for 10 yrs with periods of depression. Now I have found anti-depresants are not working and klonopin is OK but so tiring..my hair is falling out, LOL. I wish my new employment would offer health insurance for part-time work (which seems to take me full time hours to complete sometimes)...but at least I am doing what I aspired to do- non-brick laying work as well although I have been told to work as a PE teacher before LOL (so I can run around all day!!!).
I am very much afraid of changing meds and having to work to meet the expectations of my boyfriend who said if I will not try to have a baby in the future, he will not marry me. Nice!!!!
Wow. Both completely insane. You should have mentioned they have medication for _that_.
There's nothing wrong with manual labor or bricklaying but suggesting it at random to mentally ill people is well, pretty much unfathomable.
And the worst thing a doctor said was this, from a locum psychiatrist: "You should realign your goals and aspire to manual labor." (For what it's worth, I have a PhD, and I still work as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies. I'll be a bricklayer in my next life. Not.)
I do hate the "your illness is just you being quirky," attitude. Natasha's right: its's the 'normal' people that treat it like it's just an unusual personal characteristic. most people's personal characteristics don't have quite that high a fatality rate.