Questions about Mental Illness

I am absolutely amazed at the goodness of the people I come in contact with all the time.  It warms my heart to no end to have someone ask me questions about mental illness in hopes that they can be more understanding or helpful to others.  It just gives me so much hope that people really want to know how to help, and it means so much to me that they reach out to ask me what I think.

Obviously, everyone is different, so these answers may not be applicable to everyone, but hopefully they can help others as well.
  1. What are the best things people have done for you that have lifted your spirits, given you hope, or helped you feel loved?  
    • Some of the moments that have been absolute miracles through this process are when people have given their time to listen.  Often times, that is the most helpful thing someone can do for me, because nothing can really make it all better, so talking about it relieves some of the intensity.  And it really helps when someone asks specific enough questions ("How are you feeling emotionally?" or "Was this a good week or a difficult week for you?") that allow me to know that they want real answers, not just the artificial, "I'm doing great" answers.
    • Having people invite me to do things helps a lot, because it gets me out of the house and sometimes pulls me out of my darkness for hours after.
    • I have a few friends who text me once or twice a week just to ask how I'm doing.  This really helps, because I can respond on my own time, and it gives me the option to talk to someone about what I'm feeling if I need to.
    • Hugs.  Lots of hugs.  :)
    • Someone made phone calls for me when that was too difficult for me to do on my own or someone else went to some appointments with me to help me feel more comfortable and get the help I needed.  These were great helps, because they allowed me to get help and progress toward overcoming my disorder.
    • Random surprises have helped me at different times, like someone sent me flowers randomly or someone made a CD of some of their favorite songs and gave it to me to lift my spirits.  Those random acts of kindness have boosted me up and made me feel very loved and cared about.  Sometimes they have come at a critical time, which I believe was someone listening to the Spirit to know that I needed a boost.
  2. What are the worst kinds of things that people do that make you slump downward?
    • I really struggle when people say things like, "You just have to choose to be happy" or "All you have to do is _____ and then you'll feel better."  I realize these are meant to help, but most often, they hurt rather than help, because what is going on inside of me is not my choice and it doesn't have a simple solution, which is what I feel like these two statements imply.
    • Most of the time, I feel a literal emotional sting in my heart when someone says, "I understand what you're going through."  I realize that they are trying to help me feel less alone, but often the opposite happens, because there is no way for them to really understand what I experience on a daily basis.  It would be more helpful for someone to say, "I've felt something similar before.  I'd love to talk about my experiences if you want to know that someone is here for you."
    • Anytime someone says something to the effect of, "It can't be that bad" or "You're exaggerating," I plunge into darkness, and it takes days to pull myself back up.  PLEASE believe me that what I am telling you is true and is how I perceive things at that time.
  3. Does it make you feel worse when you have a responsibility or better?  Does it depend on certain factors?  How can you tell if the person needs more or less responsibility?
    • This is such a hard question to answer, because it changes all the time it seems.  Sometimes I can handle more responsibility and it even pulls me out of the darkness, but other times it is completely overwhelming and impossible to handle more.  Honestly, you can just ask.  I recognize that I must be an advocate for myself, and if something is going to be too difficult, then I need to have the courage to speak up about it.  
  4. Do you ever dislike it when people offer to help because you want to feel like you can do things, not have things done for you?
    • I haven't felt that way at all when someone has offered to help.  I have declined help sometimes when people have offered if I really don't need it, but only because I want to do what I can for myself before accepting help.  I appreciate any help that is offered, and the love I feel from someone offering to help goes a long way.

1 comment:

  1. Meghann Dupont Spot on!! Glad you are my friend and we could battle mental illness together. Even though postpartum depression is a little different than what you are going through, we had a lot of things the same. I highly give you credit for helping me at the beginning and inspiring me to write my own blog and for being there even when postpartum depression finally ENDED!!!! Getting on medication, you were there. My broken brains intrusive thoughts and I needed to talk, you where there. Coming off medication, going to therapy, everyday you were there. I love you my friend! I am grateful to your husband as well.. while you could of spent that time with him, you were there for Me!. You helped me crawl out of ''hell'' by writing and listening. You have saved the lives of people. I know it! Keep on writing and sharing! My fellow sister in the Gospel!