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What Not To Do When Dealing With Someone Who Is Mentally Unwell

1. Baby us – I understand that I am sick and you are trying to help but by treating me like an infant reinforces my own thoughts that I am basically useless

2. Speak louder then normal – I have severe depression, post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder none of which effect my hearing or will get your advice/suggestion/support through quicker

3. Speak to me slower then normal – Again I have multiple of disorders that at time distorts my thinking or perception but none of which affected my intelligence level. Treat me like an idiot and I will make you look stupid.

4. Treat me like I am going to break – A wrong comment or a slight slip is not going to send me running for the deep end. Trust me the garbage I tell myself is a hundred times worse then anything you can say.

5. Use cliches – Telling me to pull up my boots and charge forward or to just focus on the positive reinforces the idea that I need to surround myself with smarter people who understand the difference between a case of the blues and severe depression. If it was that easy do you really think I would still be in the same position.

6. Forget who you are talking too – The person that you remember from five years ago is the same one standing in front of you. When the diagnosis was dropped on me with borderline personality disorder the only thing that changed is now I am fortunate enough to carry a suitcase full of stigma with me. Hate to break it to you but I have always been borderline and the only difference is the way you now look at me.

7. Leave me alone – When a person enters the dark world of depression the first thing they do is isolate themselves to simplify their own world. By giving me space to figure out things on my own reinforces the negative thoughts in my head saying I am alone fighting a battle that I am positive that I will lose. A simple phone call reminds me that there are reasons to keep fighting and that when I need it someone is there.

8. Focus on the disorders – The best part of dealing with other people means I can allow my attention to go elsewhere for a while and not the battle in my head. The story of your child’s trip to the library is as helpful to my recovery as any med.

9. Ignore the warning signs – If I am doing something that appears to be negative and on a path that leads to nothing good then be my friend and speak up. I spend so much time in a bad head space that at times I do not realize the danger that I am in as it all seems normal to me.

10. Believe the stigma – According to the borderline stigma I have no heart and I am incapable of appreciating the needs of another human being as I only care what effects me. If this is so then can you explain to me the reason behind this blog where I am literally exposing my soul in order to make life a little bit easier for someone else. I am not an exception to the rule when it comes to borderline but the portrait the stigma portrays is the exception. Always look for the human being and then the disorders not the other way around. Remember mental illness effects one out of five people so tomorrow someone you love could be in my shoes and how would you like people to treat them?