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WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN DEALING WITH PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
This is a post that I originally wrote almost two years ago now when I was struggling with mental illness. I no longer deal with anxiety or depression, but I still found this necessary to share due to the fact that it's extremely important for others to know what someone going through these issues may be feeling and keeping in mind what might set them off. Not everyone dealing with anxiety or depression may have these feelings, but clearly, I did at the time and I thought it might be an important peice to share -
Many times, those who typically don't struggle with depression and/or anxiety don't understand that the comments that they make can be extremely ignorant and insensitive. I've gotten a lot of advice from people who don't suffer from mental health issues that tend to be a little insensitive, so I'm just going to talk about a few things that might help people understand a little more what it's like to struggle with these issues.
1. We are not lazy. Although it may seem like it to an outsider, people suffering from depression and anxiety are not lazy. When you have depression, sometimes you really just don't have the energy for much of anything. Being constantly tired is not fun and it's definitely not a choice. If I could have all the energy in the world, I would be ecstatic. Not only that, but, depression and anxiety can easily take over your whole life, which can make it hard to do everyday tasks. Sometimes simply getting out of bed can be a difficult task when dealing with a mental illness.
2. We don't always want advice. When we're venting about our current mental state, that is not an open invitation to start giving advice (especially if you don't have mental health issues yourself). Trust me, although you think you're being helpful, we've most likely already tried everything you're about to tell us. We all have good days and bad and sometimes the bad days are just unavoidable. Don't try to tell us that eating healthy and exercising is going to magically fix all of our problems.
3. We can't just force ourselves out of it. A lot of times, I've had people tell me that I just have to get over my anxiety and that I have to force myself to do things that bring it on. Maybe it seems like good advice to tell someone who's just shy and needs brought out of their shell, but this does not work for someone with mental health issues. I can promise you, it is physically impossible to force yourself to do something when every fiber of your being is against it. Just trust me on this one.
4. We want to make things work for us just as much as you do. Trying to "push" us seems helpful in theory, but we want to do things just as much as you want us to and we're trying our best. We don't like being victims to our own minds and we want to succeed and overcome our problems just like everyone else, it just might take us a little longer.
5. We know what kind of help we need. Many people think that they know what's best, but we're the only ones that truly know what we need and what might be able to help. Please don't assume that you know more than the person suffering and listen to them and what they need.
The point here is, living with depression and anxiety is not something that anyone wants to deal with and most of us aren't just trying to use it as a crutch not to do anything. We want free of the shackles of our minds and what we really need is kindness and patience from those around us. So, please love us and be gentle with us. We can get through it with the right tools and someone who will actually listen. I hope that this is helpful in some way.
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