I admit it. I’m bat shit crazy. Seriously folks. Guano style. I go to therapy, I’m on meds, and I still have days where my world is just exploding in a pile of insanity. Those are the days that I hate trying to reach out to people, even though it’s what I need. That’s kind of… well, akin to self harm. I know I need to talk to people and work through it, but at the same time, I refuse to do so. Why? Because I know the second I try to talk about it, people will tell me the same things they always do: “Go for a walk.” “Just breathe.” “You’ll get through it.” “Try meditating.” “It could always be worse.” (usually followed by) “At least it isn’t cancer.” I want to flip out and scream and yell. I want to tell them that I don’t need their stupid advice that, for the record, won’t help or work. I have TRIED to tell people that I just need an ear, and some positive reinforcement that I’m not a horrible person, or worthless, or should just disappear. But society has taught us for years that mental illness isn’t real. It’s intangible. It’s not the same as a broken limb, or a gaping wound, or cancer. It’s something to hide. So, we do.
One of the worst things to suggest to me specifically, and often people who have anxiety or depression, is to try to walk it off or meditate, or do another activity that requires them to sit and process things alone in their head while they’re having a bad breakthrough day. When I sit alone in the quiet, my brain focuses on what I call festering thoughts. Apparently they’re actually called ruminating thoughts. It’s when you play things over and over in your head. You focus on situations on what might have been said and done differently. Or even what the other person may have been thinking. It SUCKS. It keeps me up at night. All night. Every night. There are things to do to help focus and block these bad thoughts, often replacing them with good thoughts, and it takes a LOT of practice. Yes, eventually some people can even learn to focus enough to meditate. Apparently it’s quite refreshing to be able to do this. I can’t. Not yet anyway.
The most important thing about being depressed, or anxious, or just whatever is asking for what YOU NEED. If they don’t like it? Screw them. There will ALWAYS be someone to listen. *I* will listen. *WE* will listen. People tell me all the time on bad days that I’m a drama queen. That’s why they invented block buttons. 🙂 Someone who makes you feel bad on good OR bad days isn’t worth your time. You are better than that.
The most important thing about being friends/related to/in a relationship with someone who’s suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, or any other mental illness is acceptance. This is still a person, not an illness. It isn’t “Jake, he’s bipolar.” It’s “Jake.” Stop with those stupid “Look, ma, I read a Facebook post on depression, so I know how to deal with depressed people!” posts, and just LISTEN to your friends. Everyone is different. Learn to listen and adapt to their specific needs and wishes. Just be there for them. I know you can’t relate. If you haven’t been there, you just can’t. That’s okay, you don’t need to. You just need to support them.