Last November I was diagnosed with something I knew I pretty much had all my life.
Thanks to being a hypochondriac I am a regular symptom checker and everything fit.
“Brettina why can’t you focus on one task at a time? Why are you sad out of nowhere? Why do you let your emotions control you?”
Of course, I was not the only one who asked myself this question…friends, family, and strangers did too. When I was diagnosed I was actually relieved. I finally had an answer, which means I could take steps in solving the issue. I even wanted to share this with the world! I thought “Wow now people finally get a chance to understand me and this will help them and myself as well.”
What I found made me afraid to even let you the reader know what I have. Friends went from having normal arguments with me to coddling or straight up excusing behaviors I was trying to unlearn. An argument would pop up and instead of the usual back and forth banter I would read or hear
“I understand, but you know this is just your mental illness talking.”
So my mental illness became a staple and reasoning for everything that happened.
Even worse it gave some people an excuse to treat me horribly or do things that would be damaging to any person of any cognitive function or dysfunction. As soon as I got upset it would be implied
“Remember you have a personality disorder” and I would instantly apologize for being me, for my past, and everything that I worked for was out the Window.
Other interesting phenomena were that friends and family still wanted to treat me like the old me. My best friend Ollie literally said to me once “I don’t get it…I see that you have changed a RIDICULOUS amount for the better in only two months..if they knew you for as long as I than they would know..” Hence why I call her my best friend.
If you are reading this as a woman of color or just a woman or just someone with straight-up mental illness I am sure you can relate to these sort of annoying and damaging behaviors from people you love. If you are not of any mental illness, please read the tips below.
Not 21 questions or else we will have 99 problems. Just simple questions about how you can help and you can be a comrade for people with mental illness
If you are going to ask a question please listen. Nobody wants to answer to someone who won’t hear them out.
Don’t Bring up or Treat the person like they can not or have not changed
This one is the most hurtful and annoying in my opinion. If you buy an art set because you want to be a painter..at first you might suck. People might let you know that your work does not meet the level of a great painter. Now how would you feel if you started becoming great and all the people you love said you still sucked? You’d probably be experiencing some serious cognitive dissonance at this point and might even relapse a bit to an old state.
Based on that last paragraph I have one tip for people with mental illness
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
One of my close friends read the book “The Four Agreements” and she constantly drills this phrase into my head. Don’t take it personally. My most loved phrase to go with this is Don’t let other’s perception become your reality. If the painter above decided they sucked and gave up the world might miss out on a truly great artist.