Reportedly, approximately 56 million Indians suffer from depression.
Mental health is no joke, and it’s high time we start taking it seriously. This is mental health awareness month, and I thought of talking about how ignorant we still are when it comes to dealing with people suffering from mental illness. Our good intentions get infused with insensitivity when we pass on certain statements without even realizing how mind-bogglingly superficial we sound.
If you are somebody whose loved one is suffering from mental illness and you genuinely wish to help them, please, for the sake of all that is good and pure, do not say any of the following statements. These are not comforting. Nobody needs to hear them. In fact, they are the opposite of empathy.
1. Snap out of it
Only if it were as simple as you make it sound.
2. You’re overthinking things
Really? Am I?
3. This is just a phase. This too shall pass
No, it’s not and you gotta shut up.
4. Even I had a MAJOR anxiety attack last week. I took two deep breaths and I was just fine
LOL okay! Nice.
5. Some people have it worse than you
It’s not a competition.
6. Just try to be positive
Yah! That’s just not how this works. But, thanks.
7. There is no such thing as depression. Don’t imagine things
Are you for real?
8. But you seemed fine last week
Thank you, next
9. You just need some air. Go out and have fun
Thank you for this unsolicited advice.
10. You gotta chill! Everybody has bad days
Do you hear yourself?
11. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
This statement will kill me.
12. You don’t look depressed
Are you kidding me?
13. Where there is a way there is a way
Yah, that is not helpful.
14. It’s all in your head
Shut up. Just shut up.
Mental illness is real. It needs to be put on the same pedestal as you put any other physical disease. You cannot just “snap out” of a mental illness. It is not humanly possible. This little fact needs to be reiterated again and again for people to not just say that they care about mental health but actually mean it.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, please reach out to your family or seek professional help.