18-11-2014 03:41 PM - edited 18-11-2014 06:38 PM
I'm fairly sure most of us have been there. That gut-wrenching, hot-under-the-collar feeling of hearing someone else's insensitive remarks about MI.
A lot of the time it can be our own friends and family trying to do right by us. Other times it can be people that simply just don't get it.
In this article, 9 Things not to say to someone with MI, the author, Tartakovsky, explains that many people don't know what to say because they've not learned how to respond to MI. She provides examples of nine common remarks people say and how to respond. Here's a few of them (go to link provided for full article):
“Get busy, and distract yourself.”
“With significant mental illness, [distractions] won’t work, not even temporarily,” Howes said. After a person slogs through various diversions, they’re still left with the same issues. “Ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away.”
“Do you want to get better?”
For mental health blogger Therese Borchard, this was the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to her. While she knows the person didn’t have ill intentions, it still had a powerful effect. “It implied that I was staying sick on purpose, and that I had no interest in pursuing health, not to mention that I was too lazy or disinterested to do what I needed to do to get better.”
“Change your attitude.”
While a change in perspective can be helpful, it doesn’t cure conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD or schizophrenia, said Howes. And changing one’s attitude isn’t so easy either. “It’s incredibly difficult for a high-functioning person to change their attitude, let alone someone debilitated by an exhausting mental illness.”
What are your thoughts? Is it best to teach others what to say? Or are we fighting a tiring battle? What are some of the insensitive remarks you've heard and how did you respond? @SCORPION I thought of this topic after reading and commenting on your post. I'd love hear your thoughts on this. Any thoughts from our active contributers @Uggbootdiva @kenny66 @Loopy @kristin @Alessandra1992 @kato @PeppiPatty?
18-11-2014 03:51 PM
CherryBomb ,"Build a bridge and get over it" "“Everyone else is dealing with life, so why can’t you?” There will always be some one who thinks that they have the answer to all of the problems the world has but are unable to see that they have the problem.
18-11-2014 06:20 PM
"if you toughen up and get out into the the real world it will sort out your schizophrenia"
"get a meaningful relationship-that will fix you up"
"If you weren't such an introvert you wouldn't have this problem"
All these were said with the best of intentions. Usually if I get the opportunity I give these and other people I meet a little info pack on Schizoaffective disorder, if the MI stuff is raised. Most read it.
For those I don't know much I offer to send them some info or give them an information website. I have had a couple ring me up and say they read it.
Mostly I don't get worried by ignorant observations or advice. The main one that gets to me is "whats it like to have a split personality" because that is such a warped stereotype.
My experience is though that whatever education we provide to these people has very little effect in the bigger picture of things. If multi million dollar education campaigns dont work whatever we try only has a very minimal localised effect.
18-11-2014 07:43 PM
@kenny66 your response is very proactive.
I think we all have the potential to effect change, and I think when it comes to a personal experience, or encounter, i.e someone we know, this can have the greatest impact.
In many ways, things don't come into our radar, it's a need to know basis.
Like your style
18-11-2014 10:54 PM
19-11-2014 03:00 AM
19-11-2014 11:47 AM
At times I get 'you don't seem unwell', which seems like people are implying that I'm making stuff-up, particularly when I need to take time off work. I've only told a few people at work about my MI, and these are the people whom I feel comfortable with 'teaching what to say' by explaining to them what it is like to live a MI. For the others though, I offer no explanation as I fear my work could be compromised.
19-11-2014 11:54 AM
For me it's annoying when someone just flippantly says:
"I'm so bipolar"
"She is so OCD"
If only they knew how much pain is associated with what people experience with those mental illnesses!
19-11-2014 12:00 PM
Yeah! I agree with you @coffeegirl! I think what we share in common is that people have preconceived ideads about MI, which is why I'm hesistant to disclose my MI to many other people in my workplace.
19-11-2014 01:20 PM - edited 19-11-2014 02:05 PM
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