It was 2010. I had come home from work early because I was having a bad episode of anxiety. As soon as I came home, I was harped on by my sister’s boyfriend. I couldn’t deal with that and the anxiety that was overwhelming, but I couldn’t retreat to my room because he wanted to drag it out… yell at me more, make me feel even worse about myself. I suffered through that and eventually ended up in my room and on my bed crying.
Shortly after, I was told by someone very close to me that my mental illness was affecting everyone else and that it made people uncomfortable to be around me. At this point, especially considering who it was, I was at the end of my rope. I was basically told to not express my issues when around others because they would then get depressed, etc. I was not in a good place, but no one knew how to “deal with me.” I felt lost and I felt I couldn’t turn to anyone because I was convinced that everything about me was wrong and I shouldn’t bring it up (luckily I had amazing friends that I COULD talk to about and two friends in particular who basically let me sleep on their pull-out couch on weekends for at least 2 months).
Thing is, even when you’re frustrated about someone’s mental illness or anything related to that, you can’t just tell someone not to associate with people while they’re depressed or whatever. You can feel that frustration. You’re allowed to. But walking away from someone to take a breather is better than taking it out on the person with the mental illness. You have no idea what a flippant frustrated comment could do to person in crisis… or someone close to being in crisis. And you can and allow yourself to have moods, so why tell someone else to suppress theirs?
Now, I look back. The person who told me those things has a whole different perspective on things and my disorder. They realized that sometimes I can’t hide when I’m depressed. Or I can’t sleep when I’m a little bit manic. Or that me walking away from a situation isn’t being rude, but trying not to have an anxiety attack. Or that sometimes, no matter what, I’m going to have an all-out panic attack. Or that if I shut down and listen to music when everyone else is talking it might because I’m hearing or seeing things. I honestly think their perspective changed when I was admitted to a psych ward three times in one year. That they couldn’t change me. I am who I am.
And, thanks to my medication (even if they do make me gain weight) I can control a lot of these symptoms and I just wasn’t on the right ones before. So, just, mind what you say to people… to anyone. It could affect them more than you realize.