Society is heading in the right direction when talking about mental health, but people still fear disclosing their mental health issues for fear of being labelled, excluded and misunderstood. Part of the problem with supporting people with mental illness is our misunderstanding of the disease and our fear of not knowing what to say. So, to avoid being insensitive towards a troubled person, we say nothing or say the wrong thing
Perhaps you can start supporting the people in your life suffering from mental illness by knowing what not to say.
“You are just overthinking things.” When a person struggles with mental illness, overthinking is part of their process, and pointing it out just comes across as insensitive and negatively impacts the person. Instead, inquire about their concerns about a situation, listen to how the problem makes them feel, and perhaps provide some gentle ideas and support to make the situation less overwhelming.
“This too shall pass,” “it is just a phase you are going through,” or “time heals all wounds” are sayings you want to avoid. While your intentions may be good, this statement may make a person suffering from mental illness more eager about the situation and anxious that they do not measure up to an expected time frame.
“Some people are worse off than you” is a phrase that makes a person suffering from mental illness feel their problems are insignificant to you. It may also lead them to compare themselves to others, making themselves feel worse. Instead, make them feel validated for their feelings and encourage them to stop comparing themselves to others.
“Just be Positive” is an unrealistic expectation, and suggesting that someone going through mental illness treats their problems with a positive attitude is counterproductive to supporting them. It is a dismissive statement to someone struggling to be positive and upbeat, making them feel even worse that they are too depressed to feel joy.
Give Yourself Permission to Breathe
Remember to breathe!
Wherever you are in your life, we hope you give yourself permission to breathe. We hope that you take time every day to take stock of all the amazing parts of yourself, and you check personal criticism at the door.
The world we live in today is not easy; demands and stresses are bearing down on us every day. Our hope for you is that in a world that is always rushing, you can find a moment of stillness in your life to just be in the moment. Whatever that moment is.
If you feel grief, give yourself permission to feel it. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a rest. If you feel joy, then allow yourself to celebrate happiness. If you are not sure what you are feeling, release the pressure of trying to define the feelings and just be in the moment
Whatever happened today, this week or this month, give yourself “Permission to Breathe
- To remember
- To honour
- To celebrate
- To nurture
- To practice thankfulness
- To laugh
- To cry
- To Breathe