Hardly anyone has a real understanding of mental health?(91 Posts)
I don't think people can really understand unless they've experienced it themselves. But I also think most people are well-meaning, but they feel helpless, and don't know what to say or do, so they end up backing away.
I don't think you've chosen the best title for this, to get responses, by the way - people may think you just want an objective discussion. Have you tried posting in the mental health section?
You can talk to me.
Anxiety, depression, Asperger's, ADHD, possibly BPD and OCD which comes and goes at random.
Full train wreck here.
I totally get it.
People have a lot going on in private and may find it simply too emotionally exhausting to have to listen to someone's problems that they have no idea how to fix.
I'm sure they still care but for a lot of people it's simply too much to handle, especially if it has been going on a long time and the discussions have been done again and again.
People can be terrified of saying the wrong thing to a suicidal person and it ending badly. They will therefore suggest you talk to someone who knows what to say and not say, e.g. GP.
I had severe chronic depression and suicidal feelings from the age of 12, so I can empathise.
What would you like to hear from your friends? What would be helpful?
But also it's different for everyone. And the people who have been there may not have it in them to support anyone else at that moment.
Me: previous anorexia, then bulimia, self harming, depression, suicide attempts. Currently anxiety and OCD. Probable ASD.
And yeah im crap at supporting others - when I'm well I don't want to think about it, and when I'm not I'm just barely coping myself. I try not to be selfish, but I have to be.
I have OCD, anxiety, depression and aspergers and while I agree that unless you have been through it you can truly understand, I know people who have been supportive anyway and genuinely lovely, and people who are downright ignorant.
I've had professionals telling me that my autism must be mild, and that it doesn't affect me much, and been very patronizing, they have been quite rude about it which just isn't necessary!
I sympathize. My ds was diagnosed with bipolar at 12 and it's been a difficult journey getting him help and understanding. And we are in the USA which I have found to be one of the more advanced countries in terms of mental health support.
The good news is that the world is moving in the right direction. I know it sounds stupid, but it is monumental that Prince Harry and Lady Gaga are having Skype conversations about mental health and publicizing it. Because of celebrity attention, I have seen a huge improvement in mental health understanding and therefore support here in the USA in the 4 years since my ds was diagnosed.
Ds finds group therapy very helpful, but he is a teenage boy...not sure what you will connect with, but definitely worth trying everything you can. I have super understanding and educated friends, but unless they or their own child has mental health issues, they really haven't been much help. (I get lots of useless suggestions like "sign him up for soccer" or "he really should just get out of the house.") It's helpful to find a support group that is experiencing the same thing as you so that they can give you suggestions on how to cope. I think that's what my ds connects to...other teenagers telling him what they do, instead of mom (who couldn't possibly know anything).
I don't really know what resources there are in the UK, but I am sure there are some. Here in the USA there is an organization called NAMI who are extremely helpful for resources. I don't think they have a UK branch, but certainly worth checking out their website.
Also, you posted this in AIBU, but might find better help and suggestions of resources if you post in Health/Mental Health.
Mental health issues scare people. My mum committed suicide, I have self harmed and suffered with depression for most of my life and DD has a personality disorder, oh yes and DS is Autistic and has ADHD (he is the normal one in the family).
It's really difficult for people who haven't been there to know how to react, as pp said most people mean well but just get stuck, they are generally so worried about saying the wrong thing they just end up changing the subject. There needs to be far more openness about the subject so that people feel they can talk about what is going on with them in general company. People are quite happy discussing physical illnesses with each other, mental illness is still an illness, that's why it's called that, no-one chooses to have a mental illness and to be stigmatised makes it even less likely that you will share the problem or seek help.
I just come straight out with it when I talk to people and tell them I'm a complete basket case. That may upset some people so sorry if it does but it's my way of coping and it's my illness and I will own it any way I have to to deal with it.
I find humour tends to dull some of the shock horror OMG what do I say reaction but everyone is different and at different stages of their illness. What I'm trying to say in my overgrown rambling way is don't feel you have to apologise for being ill.
Hope all goes well and if you need to talk I'm here.
podstick do some googling on mitochondrial disease/dysfunction and mental health particularly the mood disorders and adhd and autism. You may find that there can be some nutritional assistance to some of the issues that run in your family. It won't cure everything, but can be of enormous help. My ds has mitochondrial disease and his doctor (Richard Boles) here in Los Angeles is doing amazing work on the genetics and biochemical pathways of this disease and it's connection to all sorts of other things.
Thank you SofiaAmes, we live in the UK and it's crap here for mental health issues, I remember we had a social worker came round the house after mum died ( I wasn't very old) she asked if I was ok and gave me a mars bar - as if that would fix it all. I'll get on Google and have a look.
I've had various diagnoses over the years. I now know that when my MH is poor then I'm not always a good friend/colleague/employee. I become less aware of boundaries and will often focus on myself. I also will act like I need someone to "fix" how I'm feeling. All in all, I'm not always an easy person to be around, as I often over think what others are saying/doing.
During that time, I'm not a good person to help or listen to someone else because I can't detach their issues from mine. When things are better for me, I can struggle to empathise because it seems like a different version of me. I will recommend people access the stuff I found helpful - mainly private therapy and medication because I will know that things can get better. It's not a quick fix though and it can be difficult to communicate that.
What do you expect your friends to do or say? They are not qualified to deal with suicidal people. Surely YOU can understand that.
bibbity would you say the same to a friend who had cancer and was in pain from the chemo and vomiting in your living room...."oh sorry, you better go home now, I'm not qualified to deal with someone who has cancer." Your post is exactly what's wrong with how the average person "deals" with mental illness. They don't. I don't know if you all know that once upon a time that's how people with cancer were treated. It was referred to as the Big C and it was a social death sentence to admit that you had cancer, like it was contagious.
So instead bibbity maybe when your friend says she is suicidal or depressed or manic or just not feeling balanced mentally, you might just say "what can I do to help? Do you want me to call a professional, or make you chicken soup or bring you a big bar of chocolate?" Or maybe you can just listen because often just talking can help relieve the tension inside.
People don't understand. I had a Dr tell me that I should stop being so silly and go back to the mental health team, she thought the Dr I saw was lovely. No amount of explaining how he made me feel helped. I just needed to remember he was a very nice man and not to be feared.... extreme anxiety apparently cured with that little pep talk.
No one who's supposed to have been a friend, or family member understood either.
One brutal truth that helped me massively was to finally realise in black and white that no one was ever going to care about my mental and physical health more than me.
Self care is a massive part of good mental health, just making sure you eat and drink well not only nourishes your body but also sends a clear message to yourself through your actions that you are cared for.
Friends don't expect me to cure their flu, broken leg, arthiritis, cancer. So why would they expect me to cure their depression?
UK lags way behind in handling MH. Why all get excited when a s'leb talks about it
There is no diagnostic screening for MH and in particular for depression & anxiety. Why it is so hard to treat and for the sufferer to get the right support. Now GPs are not too keen on handing out scripts for anti-depressants and are encouraged to support the patient into localised mental health support groups.
However, and I do feel for you, OP. You mentioned a former employer who forced you into quitting because of anxiety. Awful cow. I have a team member who has not worked for ten years because of attitudes such as this. She felt comfortable enough to tell us when she was interviewed and a combination of her excellent skills and her candid gap in cv exp made me choose her.
So it is not just a health-based issue, Harry talking about it doesn't make it better or less taboo, it is ingrained deep in society that MH is still very much hidden.
When BP was Mania, that was rarely spoken about.
I speak as the daughter of a SZ undiagnosed for many years. My mother was seen and described as mad
I think people's resources just run out. Depression is such a common illness, there cannot be an adult alive in the Western world who hasn't experienced it themselves or had to deal with someone (or in my case) several people very close to them going through it. Why isn't it acceptable in the end to say "I'm sorry, I can't help you" ?
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