In today’s society, there are so many misconceptions about mental health. Just the other day at work, a group of people was talking about a woman who was harming herself by cutting her arms while she was at work. This was partially due to someone else picking on her and part of her having an undiagnosed mental illness. This group of people was saying how they had depression, but there was no reason for this other co-worker to be doing these things to herself. That it was her just being dumb. Well… Let’s just stop right here.
First of all, these people may have a form of depression or some other mental illness, but they don’t understand how complicated the mind is. They never even reached out to her and judged her for something she couldn’t help which is upsetting. Why? Because she needed someone. Why didn’t I? Because I don’t know who she was and no one pointed her out to me when I asked. Secondly, I also recognize that some don’t understand mental illness and don’t know what to do when they’re around someone who has one or more (because some people have).
Image by Cristian Newman
I know everyone suffers from depression from time to time. But for some, they are on medication so they don’t hurt themselves or commit suicide. Those of us who suffer from depression or other mental illness need to know someone cares about and supports us. We don’t understand what’s going on in our heads.
One thing I wish everyone without a mental illness understood is that no one asks to be born with a chemical imbalance in their brain. It’s not easy to live with what’s in our heads and we have to live like this every day. Medication helps to keep the imbalance in check, but it’s not a solve-all. The mental issues are still there. It’s an everyday battle with or without medication.
The best thing you can do for someone with a mental illness is to be supportive and nonjudgmental. Be curious. Ask questions. Read about the illness. Gain knowledge. Try to understand. Most importantly, be patient with us.