Okay, I want yall to comment below if you have heard this. “You don’t look like you have mental issues?” or “You don’t seem crazy” or “But you’re too normal” I use to hear this all the time in the beginning. I rarely heard this from strangers. It’s usually family, friends, and acquaintances/associates. I think they say it, because they are in denial. Of course stigma has played a huge role to their denial. Thinking mentally ill people look deranged (physically unkempt), talking to themselves, and shouting random and ludicrous things. Seeing a person not matching their false conception about the mentally ill, makes them feel they can say that.
Also, it’s the fact they think they know EVE-RY-THING about you. So they disregard your depression and say “You’re just going through a rot. It will pass” Oh, and my favorite… “You’re being too dramatic! It’s not that serious” Bruh… the person is not there with you every second, of everyday, to know what you go through. Even if they do, they don’t know what’s going on in your mind and how you feel. Their perspective on things would be WAY different from yours, because they haven’t lived your truth. Therefore, making statements like that is not only offensive, but plan ignorant.
Yes, you let it slide, because you acknowledge their ignorance. Then you have to calmly try to educate them about mental illnesses and mental health. Make an effort to explain their view on this topic is not fully correct. Yes there are extremes they see on media, but there are other types and different “levels” to it. Of course trying to pass on this knowledge can be frustrating. It either doesn’t go through their head or don’t care to learn about it. Only few would actually sit down and try to understand/ grasp it all. If you do come across to things people, please applaud them. There aren’t many like them. Even though they may fumble a few times on what they say or view on things, remember, just like you, they are going through this journey and trying their best to be the support system you need.
Now the others… sigh … you will have to let them be. If you try to provide knowledge and it seems like they do not care for it, then come to terms with it. These people are stuck in their way and they don’t want to change. Accept it and move on, because you don’t need that kind of presence in your life. Those kinds of people are toxic and may cause triggers/relapse.
I know for some it’s easier than others; especially if it’s family members. You can’t avoid family, because whether you like it or not, they’re your family. I, myself, is extremely lucky to live far away from toxic family members. I am even luckier to have car, because it gives me the freedom to visit whenever I please and to stay as long or short as I please. However, I am aware with there are people who are not as fortunate as me. They live with these people and have no other choice to. From my experience, living with the people like that, I have two techniques that has helped me to at least tolerate my living circumstances.
One, go out! I don’t care if you’re broke. Leave the house. Call someone just to walk around somewhere. Just try to get out of that environment as much as you can. The less time you spend there, the less likely you will eventually break. Two… boundaries. Let’s clap it out. Bound-a-ries! Trust and believe it is a blessing. Of course, toxic people do NOT like when you set limits. Oh… they hate it! But don’t make look like you are saying a hard no to everything. Make them believe you are working with them and setting up a compromise. When you do this, it gives them an appearance of they are still in control (toxic people usually have control issues), and giving an illusion that they still do, will make them a little bit more livable.
Yes, looking “too normal” to have mental illness has their challenges. People at your job thinks one way about you, but deep down inside you want to curl up and cry your eyes out or rage. Friends see that you’re happy when you’re hanging out with them, but deep inside you’re in your own world getting lost in your thoughts. Family members thinks you just need to get over whatever funk you’re going through and you will be fine. But you know deep down inside, it’s not that easy. Just as long we surround ourselves with good company and keep open communication to trustworthy people, it can get better. You just have to adult one day at a time. xoxo
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