As we aren’t educated about different mental health illnesses and how mental health effects people, often if we don’t suffer from it, it’s not something we look into. So today I am going to answer the question which so many people get asked.
“Have you tried just being Happy/More positive?”
When people tell you to just be happy or be positive when you suffer from mental illness it is literally like telling someone with a broken leg to just get up and run. Just because you can physically see the illness doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Yet this is one of the most common things I hear along with “You were fine yesterday!” It doesn’t matter if I was fine yesterday, this morning, an hour ago, or 5 minutes ago. My illness doesn’t run on a timetable. I can feel really low or really anxious in a split second. “You were laughing and joking earlier” or “but you always seem fine and jokey to me” this is also a thing I hear. As I have said before this can often be a way to mask my feelings and thoughts. Sometimes obviously I am genuinely happy. A common misunderstanding is that because I suffer from depression and anxiety this means that I don’t have happy moments. When I do. Sometimes I don’t have them for a long time. Sometimes my mood switches within the day.
Positivity is great for helping you however it doesn’t just work just like that. It takes a whole change of mindset and for some it feels like a ridiculous concept as when you suffer from mental illness simple tasks feel impossible and you can only see negativity no matter how hard you try as that is part of the illness. Simple tasks like just getting out of your bed feel impossible. It is very easy to say “Have you tried just being happy/more positive?” when you have no idea what someone has been through or are going through. Instead of judgement of things you do not understand or if you are around someone dealing with mental health issues do your research. And make sure you are researching the right illness! Having mental health can mean so many different things! Even then you have to bear in mind they haven’t found a single cure yet for Mental health illnesses so even when you do find something that you think someone could benefit from, if they say they have tried it and it hasn’t worked. That could be 100% true. So do not try to lecture them on things you have read. Remember patience is key. Just try being supportive. Sometimes you won’t be able to solve everything and you need to remember that, even if it frustrates you and you feel helpless. This isn’t about you it is about them. Make sure that is priority rather than you being right.