Here is a very good article, written by someone with bipolar disorder, that makes good sense. She points out how innocent words we all say can and do bring hurt and anxiety to those around us who are struggling. We do need to do better with everyday mental health conversation . We do need to be aware of how our words will be received by the people around us.
I know none of us willingly says or does things to hurt others unless we are very mad. That said, even in anger, we still need to control our words. Once out of your mouth, they cannot be taken back and some things cannot be fixed with a simple “I’m sorry.”
Please read this article in its entirety here and make up your own mind about how you should proceed. Maybe this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you are always cognizant of the effect your words have on others and you speak deliberately. But for the rest of us who simply blurt out whatever we are thinking at the time, maybe we need to do better with our everyday mental health conversations.
“It was so awkward that I wanted to kill myself.”
“Yeah no totally. She’s psycho.”
“That party was so packed. I was gonna have a panic attack!”
“Can you just like… chill?”
These words are not not merely “just words” ― they echo in the minds of those fighting the weight of a mental illness. They seep into everyday conversations as if it were simply ordering a sandwich or our usual cup of joe. But we speak these words without recognizing the damaging effects to those who suffer from mental health issues.
Upon the news of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington’s suicide, a wildfire of dialogue surrounding mental health ignited – from celebrities to survivors and everyone in between.
But this subject has, sadly, always been stigmatized because it’s too personal and the fear that speaking it out loud makes it too real. But here’s the thing: it is real. And if we want to prevent – or at least help – those contemplating or attempting suicide then we must climb over the mountain of fear and change the words we speak. And I will shamelessly say, I have been diagnosed with a mental health illness. So please, hear me out. I will not, nor do I have any desire, to sugarcoat any of it. Doing so will only undermine the truth.
These everyday phrases I’ve listed above have always functioned as an effortless way to describe our emotions in any given circumstance. But how do we if know we’re in the presence of someone in the middle of a depressive episode while declaring, “I’d rather kill myself than talk to my ex again.” But the issue is that whether we’re aware of it or not, these colloquialisms can impact those around us who may be suffering.
It makes us angry.
It makes us feel misunderstood.
Hearing you speak these phrases – even as a joke – isn’t a joke. For you, it’s a passive statement that means absolutely nothing. For us, you have no right. To us, though we know there’s no bad intention on your part, it’s frustrating that you can throw such jokes out so casually, and it can feel like it’s being thrown in our faces. We know that you may not know we have anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder, etc. But frankly, it’s just not your place to say such things when you have no idea what it truly feels like.
Do you truly know the pain of not being able to breathe, in the most random moments?
Do you truly know the complete desire to be happy while living with a darkness will not leave you?
Do you truly know the fear of voices that are so unreal but appear right in front of you?
So, real talk. You’re asking “will changing the words I say…read the rest here.