Mental disorders are critical and vastly understudied. People who suffer from OCD, anxiety, MPD/DID, depression, ADHD, etc. need others close to them to be sensitive. There are certain things that should not be said to people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
“You act and look very calm”
Some sufferers of depression and/or anxiety may consider it compliment while others may find such statements invalidating and slightly offensive. In either case, the sufferers do get more frustrated since they only pretend to be fine and people’s acknowledgement may seem like advice to continue with the effort.
“You should try to reduce stress”
To ask someone who suffers from anxiety to reduce stress is like asking a paralysed person to try to walk. One of the major causes of anxiety is failure to control stress.
“Try to calm down yourself”
Anyone who can calm down himself is no considered to be going through anxiety. The statement is at par with the previous one. Most anxiety-stricken people feel embarrassed about their behaviour and are determined not to panic the next time. However, panic-attack just overcomes their determination.
“Consume more vegetables and fruits, and start taking vitamin D supplement”
Most suffers of mental health issue know something is not normal with them before others notice it. So, they must have tried the common techniques even before others notice their condition. Mental disorders are too complex to be labelled as just deficiency of certain nutrients or treatable by specific diets. Besides, diets range from simple and lenient to complex and strict, depending upon the person to whom it is prescribed. It is the work of qualified dieticians rather laymen. Else, it may adversely affect and cause fitness issues. Moreover, such statements seem like blame that the sufferer is responsible for his condition as he did not take enough vegetables and fruits daily. The fact that there are many people whose lifestyle is completely haywire but they do not suffer from depression or other issues may compound the frustration in the patient.
“Exercise more, you’ll feel better”
Indeed, exercise is known to elevate the spirit in humans. However, the difference between sadness, boredom, etc. and mental disorders is significant. Exercise may not be helpful for patients of mental disorders, who may get further anxious about why something that works for everyone has no effect on them.
“It is not the end; try looking at the world differently”
Looking at the world differently one of the most viable choices the mental patients have, and they try hard to do that. But, if the same advice is repeated by every second person, the commitment to it does not become easier.
“I’ve felt so too, but I got over it”
Comparing stress with anxiety and sadness with depression is just cruel indiscrimination towards mental patients. However, if a person knows that his condition was a mental issue, sharing the entire experience may be helpful for the sufferer.
“You’re sad, it’s not depression. You’ll get out of it soon”
It is judgemental and signifies that depressed person is just unable to get through a phase of regular sadness.
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