Yesterday I wrote about things that people might say to a person with a mental illness that can hurt or be insulting. Today I want to talk about positive ones that made me smile or at least feel a little better or undestood. Let’s do this:
- “You can call me at any time!” Although I’ll probably not do so, it’s good to know that there is someone who is willing to be my private telephone counselling service.
- “It’s brave of you to go to a therapist.” This one startled me at first because when I first went to see a therapist I felt incredibly weak and dependent so it was a wonderful thing to hear that doing so was actually an achievement.
- “That must be so demanding!” Yes! Yes it is! Somebody said that after hearing about my conditions and this was her incredibly honest reply. I had never felt that understood ever before – what she said was just upfront. No pseudo-therapeutic claptrap but just her genuine first thought on what it must be like.
- (After I cut) “Now I get it, it’s the same as me getting drunk.” This was a huge relieve to hear, after all it is really the same – a method trying to cope with situations that seem too difficult at that moment. Obviously neither cutting nor drinking is a good reaction to something unpleasant but nobody’s perfect. And this was somebody who could never image classic self-harming so it was fascinating for me that he drew that comparison.
- (When I was depressed and frightened of getting up.) “You know what? I’ll get you a pair of warm socks and a cup of tea, then you’re going to call your boss and tell him how you feel. He’ll tell you to stay at home because he’s a great person. After that we’ll slowly clean up together and then we’ll watch a movie. Deal?” …and that’s what happened. Incredible.
- “I would like to help you but to be honest, I can’t. I will always listen to you but please get some professional help.” Of course it isn’t nice to hear that friends who know a lot about difficult conditions don’t feel confident enough to deal with you but on the other hand this honest answer encouraged me to get the help i needed.
- “I’d rather have you with your difficulties than somebody with ordinary every-day problems!” This could indicate some weird sort of masochism but to me it was just cute 😉
As writing this text made me smile a lot, I’ll probably do that from time to time and of course I’d love to read about awesome things that people told you about your conditions.
After reading through this again I realized that all these comments have one thing in common: They’re completely honest. No stupid attempts to sound like a therapist and that’s exactly what I need from the people I love – thanks to everyone who said those or similarly awesome things 🙂