Very few people know how to respond when people when they say they struggle with mental illness. Here’s some things that have been said to me that made me irritated/belittled. There’s also a few responses at the end.
“Oh that’s shit I get pretty depressed too. Especially when everyone goes out and I don’t and I see all the snapchat stories.”
“Really? That must suck you should try exercise.”
“Oh my god! I never knew well you should come out Saturday night me and the girls are going we’ll have so much fun!!!!!!”
People are genuinely great. I’m not trying to sound like an asshole. But I will say okay yes nothing worse than wanting to go out when everyone else is out but that’s not feeling depressed that’s feeling sad and maybe a little jealous.
As for exercise, okay I actually do agree I always feel great after it. Its scientifically proven that it realises good endorphins. But honestly, I can’t get out of bed to walk downstairs to get my dinner. I will not be going to a spinning class anytime soon.
As for coming out Saturday. (this is genuinely such a nice thing to hear and to feel wanted) it means I’ll have to shave my legs and exfoliate then put on tan and do not get me started on the fight I’ll have to have with my wardrobe to find something to wear. Still such a kind thing to hear but I mean how about we get a pizza and watch movies??
If someone tells you that they struggle with mental illness try things like,
“Oh, my god really? How are you today? Is there anything I can do? You know if you ever need anything you can always let me know. And if you’re not doing anything Saturday and if you feel up to it you’re welcome to come and do *insert activity here* with us. We’d love to have you there!”
“Fair play to you for making it to school/work/college today well done! How are you feeling today? Can I do anything?”
“Sit, tell me your woes. Can I make you a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate? (honestly any hot beverage works)”
I will say this, being friends with someone who suffers from mental illness is probably the most difficult yet rewarding things you’ll ever do. We’ll push you away sometimes and be moody and difficult. But we realise that’s it not easy and we love you for it. Sometimes the best response is nothing. Just listen, provide tissues for snots and tears, a hot beverage and a hug. If that’s all you do you’d be surprised how far that can go.