Mental Health Ignorance

It is incredibly hard to recognise one’s own feelings and it is even harder to convey such feelings in words. Telling someone else that you’re not okay is difficult because admitting that you’re not okay feels like admitting that you’re weak, and it also feels as if you’re burdening the other person with a problem that isn’t theirs.

However, it is very important to convey that you’re not okay if you truly aren’t okay. I am only capable of conveying that I am not okay if this is absolutely necessary. I don’t tend to tell my friends that I’m not okay unless I have to and I don’t tend to cancel things because of my mental health. This is partly because I do not want life to stop for any reason and sometimes it’s also easier to just keep on going.

A little while ago, I had a really bad episode. I felt suicidal and I had to message several friends to keep myself distracted. I had to actively tell myself that I wanted to keep on living because my disassociated state did not agree at that moment. It meant that I had to cancel an event and most people were understanding. Except one response wasn’t understanding and it kind of shook me to my core at the time.

I felt like I was actively attacked and felt like everything that I had said was a lie and that really, I should just ‘man up’. However, I know that mental health is a real thing and I know that his reaction was due to ignorance. And yet, it didn’t make me feel less upset and angry at the time.

In response to my cancellation as a result of feeling suicidal, I was told that I shouldn’t cancel the event and the entire message that I received basically…

  • Ignored my message

I was told that:

‘The day itself will definitely make you feel better.’

‘If you do this, I can guarantee you that it will go away and be okay.’

These two sentences did the following:

  1. Assuming that this particular event is something that will bring everyone happiness even though every person is different.
  2. Dismissing how I said that I am feeling and therefore claiming that you know me better than I know myself, even though we never talked.

I think this is straight up disrespectful, condescending and ignorant.

  • Guilt tripped me

I was told that:

‘It’s unfair that you’re not coming because someone else could have come in your place and many people would have liked to take your place.’

‘Our plans will fall apart if you don’t come because we need you.’

‘You are 100% needed and without you, the day loses its special meaning.’

(While it is nice to know that I am important and valuable, this is a terrible way to express it.)

  1. It makes me feel like a terrible person for wasting a space that someone else could have taken.
  2. It makes me feel like a terrible person for ruining the plan.
  3. It makes me feel like a terrible person for apparently ruining the ‘specialness’ of the day.

Why is this a bad thing? Because I already am the hardest judge on myself. I will have already blamed and judged myself for all of these reasons and yet despite this, I am feeling so bad that I think I have to make the sacrifice of being a ‘terrible’ person.

  • Pushed me towards what this person wanted me to do

I was told that:

‘I hope I’ll see you bright and early’

  1. Assuming this message has changed my world for the better and convinced me that I am indeed a terrible person if I don’t show up, make a terrible mistake if I don’t go, and will feel better so long as I do as you say.

Why is this bad?

Because when you have finally mustered up the courage to tell someone about how you feel and it is disregarded, you start doubting yourself and feel as if you’re in the wrong.

Because if you are suicidal it is likely that you might feel like you are a bother to people and shouldn’t be around. If someone then comes along and tells you that you are a terrible person, you have just been given another reason for why you might indeed want to kill yourself.

Because in a moment like this, I need understanding and support because things are hard enough as they are.

I don’t blame people that don’t understand the situation. I just wish there was more awareness and that these situations wouldn’t happen. In all fairness, I didn’t respond to the message I got from this person. I could have to raise awareness but I couldn’t deal with it at the time. I’m hoping that this blog post will help spread awareness instead.

Inspired by RheaEvangelista

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