** Trigger warning – This post contains information on Mental Health and may trigger some unwanted emotions. **
What I Wish People Knew About People With Mental Health Conditions
Mental health problems are faced by 1 in 4 people every year. It’s a growing issue, and the lockdown hasn’t helped. As someone who struggles with an eating disorder, OCD and depression, there are a lot of things that I wish people knew when it comes to mental health. It’s important to understand the basics so you can help loved ones should they need it. Here are some things I wish people knew about mental health!
It Can Be Hard To Open Up About Mental Health
I’ve had a lot of people ask me to talk about it. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for some. Opening up about mental health can be difficult. Some people are anxious to face their disorder, while others can find it embarrassing. I was bulimic, and it’s not nice to tell people what I used to do. I was embarrassed that I resorted to such measures, and I didn’t trust the people around me. Opening up about mental health is one of the first steps to recover, but it can take a while to get to that step. Don’t push your loved ones, as it will only make them avoid telling you. Related: 50 ways to practice self-care
Mental Health Problems Manifest In Different Ways
When opening up to someone about my eating disorder, they didn’t believe me as I didn’t look thin enough. That crushed me. If you’re talking to someone about mental health problems, don’t dismiss them just because they look different from what you think. Everyone suffers differently, and you can’t put a blanket over everyone with the same problem. For example, everyone presents stress differently. For some, it will demotivate them from starting a task, while others will get angry or overwhelmed. Mental health problems look differently on everyone. Every mental health problem will manifest differently depending on how the person copes with things. Don’t shut them down, especially if they’re opening up to you.
You May Have Your Struggles, But Please Don’t Compare
When I was struggling with my eating disorder, some people I knew would say that they don’t eat either. They thought that because they didn’t feel hungry, it meant that they also had an eating disorder. While for some, that may have been true, please don’t compare our issues. If someone with a mental health problem confides in you, listen to them. When you reply with someone else has it worse off, you lose that person’s trust. They’re talking to you because they want someone else to understand. They don’t want to be compared or judged. Of course, your loved one will listen to you with your problems, but they should stay separate. You could take it in turns to talk and confide in each other.
“Just Because They Seem Happy, Doesn’t Mean They Are”
Everyone has their struggles. Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean their mental health is perfect. Asking someone if they are okay or how their day went can make a lot of difference. I wish people would realize that a smile doesn’t mean happiness. Maybe people would be more compassionate if they didn’t take things at face value. Mental health can be very complex to understand. A smile doesn’t indicate that the problem has been fixed. If they open up to you, don’t be surprised. Just because you think they’re okay doesn’t mean they are!
Education On The Subject Is Appreciated
When people think about eating disorders, they think about skinny people who don’t eat. When people think about depression, they think of people who sleep all day. Actually, there are at least 5 different types of eating disorders and 4 for depression. Mental health is so much more than a blanket category. Something I wish people knew is the symptoms, the types, and what helps. Education yourself of mental health doesn’t take long. You don’t need to research the depths of each disorder or problem. Even recognizing and understanding an issue can make a difference to your loved one. I wish more people would educate themselves and learn the signs. Good souls go unnoticed because people don’t recognize the symptoms or don’t know how to help.
Illness Doesn’t Define A Person
When I was suffering from my eating disorder, I declined to go out with friends. They no longer invite me out, as I said no before. Please don’t do that to someone. Mental health can affect a person in many ways, but don’t penalize them for that. Try to support them on their off days and embrace them when they’re feeling up to something. An illness doesn’t define a person. They are so much more than someone who cries a lot, doesn’t eat much, etc. Your loved one is special, and for you to label them after their illness isn’t fair.
Mental health is a growing issue in society. Most of the people around you are likely suffering from some form of mental health issue. It’s important to be considerate, especially when so many are struggling at the moment. If there is someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, make sure you pop them a message and see if they’re okay. What things do you wish people would understand about mental health problems? I’d love to hear what changes I can make to help others feel more comfortable!
About the guest writer
Emily is a mental health, personal finance, and development blogger from the UK! Love, Em has been running for a year alongside her accounting apprenticeship! You’ll find posts about sustainability, blogging, and money on her corner of the internet! If you want to say hello, you can find Emily on the links below!
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