"So, Have You Tried Yoga?" And 4 Other Things Not To Say To Someone Who Opens Up About Their Mental Health
It is time to chat, we are talking about mental health, so stick with me on this wild ride, ok?
I know, this subject makes some people’s hairs stand up on the back of their neck, because it’s 2018 and somehow we still manage to have a weird stigma about this topic. Or perhaps your hairs are standing up because you deal with this yourself and have been hiding in the crevices of your brain for years on end.
Depression is running rampant on my college campus and it has been known to overtake lives left and right (UGH, @DEPRESSION, WE DON’T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH, PLEASE GO AWAY, OK?)
Anxiety, on the other hand, has quickly become the center of many fallen friendships, failed tests, and awkward social settings in my life.
Throughout the past few years, it has become clear to me that there comes a point in time when reaching out for help is NECESSARY.
However, just because it is necessary, does not mean it’s easy.
For anyone who has anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, or any other slew of mental health struggles, you probably could get why reaching out for help is hard.
You might feel like a burden.
You might feel like no one will understand.
You might feel that there is not even a point to getting help now, and that you are just “too far gone” (NOT TRUE).
Here’s the deal, and I am going to be as honest with you as possible, even if this isn’t what you want to hear: Reaching out for help is FAR from easy.
Yet, it very much so could be life changing in all the best ways.
As many articles as there are out there about reaching out for help, rarely do they address what could happen when you do.
So, I know how scary it is to ask for help and this is in no way to discourage you from doing so.
It is meant to let you know that yes, not everyone is going to understand, but PLEASE do not give up on finding the help you need, even when it does get discouraging!
It might be a rough journey, but when you do find that safe person and they listen and they give you practical resources to help you, it is SO worth it.
Here are some things that you could hear, and if you do, let them go in one ear and out the other!
If you have said these things to people, don’t beat yourself up about it, I have too. Yet, please make a change in the way you respond when people tell you they are struggling.
ALRIGHT, without further-adieu, this is what you might hear when you open up about mental health, in all honesty, I hope you don’t, but if you do, keep marching on my friend.
“Have your tried yoga?”
ALRIGHT, DONNA, yoga? OH YOU ARE RIGHT, that is TOTALLY the solution to all of my problems.
“OH, yes, well, you should go for a run!!’
You get the point, people think working out WILL change your life (which it can), but this may not be the thing you need to do to set your serotonin levels straight!
“Well, have you tried going to bed earlier?”
SLEEP. HA. If you are anxious and have a brain moving at 8294 miles a minute, your brain actually might not let you sleep. Is sleep important? Most definitely. Is it going to heal you as much as therapy or medication? Probably not.
“Oh, ya, I get sad sometimes too.”
There is a big difference between sadness and full blown depression.
“Hmm, I mean, you are just going through a tough time. “
If you KNOW that this hasn’t been a one day type of thing, KEEP looking for help.
When someone says this, it is probably because they feel slightly uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, which is NOT your issue to deal with.
Here’s the thing, if someone is reaching out to you about mental health, they probably have been dealing with these struggles for YEARS.
This most likely is not a one time thing, they probably prayed endless prayers, researched until their battery on their phone died, and journaled for months on end before actually deciding to reach out to a real life human being.
By saying something like, “Have you tried running?” You are basically saying, OH DON’T WORRY, PAL I GOT YOU COVERED!!! GO RUN A MILE OR TWO AND ALL YOUR PROBLEMS WILL DISAPPEAR. And then if they do take your advice, or already have tried running a mile, they leave feeling defeated and misunderstood.
There is NO shame in seeking professional help and looking in the RIGHT places. If you enter the doctor’s office and still get some annoyingly misunderstood comments, TRY another doctor until you find one that CAN help.
While some might not understand others will help you find the solution, whether that be medication, counseling, or anything else!
My inbox is open.
You are loved.