Stop telling people with mental illness be grateful
One of my fears in talking about my mental health condition is knowing that some people might treat me differently because of it. The thought of someone interacting with me in a way that was shaped by their own personal prejudices or ideas about what a person with a mental illness looks like is hard for me — mainly because I once maintained similar prejudices and uninformed notions about what mental illness meant and looked like, too. In my ignorance, I assumed you could really only be clinically depressed if you lost your job or family or had a disease like cancer. I was diagnosed with a mental illness. Post-traumatic stress disorder, to be exact, due to the tragic death of my father at a young age and a childhood of abuse and neglect.
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Why you shouldn't tell someone with depression to be grateful they don't have cancer, and expect their fractured bone to stop hurting. I promise you, people living with depression are acutely aware that things probably aren't as bad as they could be.
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Even with close friends, it can be hard sometimes to articulate what you need. Please be patient and keep being my friend in little ways: This is a situation not of my own making.
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Yet despite good intentions, it can also be profoundly unhelpful. Some people may wonder why. After all, scientific studies have proved that practising gratitude has enormous benefits for our psychological wellbeing. What follows is my perspective based on personal experience:. Opening up about our mental health requires courage.