Friday, August 7, 2015

Ten Positive Things People Do That Make My Bad Mental Health Days Better

I write a lot about things people do and say that anger, hurt, or frustrate those of us with mental health conditions. And that's pretty easy to write about because it happens on at least a daily basis. But there are also many positive things that people do and say that can have an equally strong impact, if not on the stigma of mental health and how society views us as a whole, at least on our day to day lives as individuals.

Since I like to end the (work/blogging) week on a positive note, I thought I'd share some of these thoughts. As always, these are my personal feelings, and I'm sure others could have their own thoughts on this, which of course, I'd love to hear.

1. When you ask "how are you?" and really want to know how I am. Which means that if I say anything from "eh" to "*$&#*#$&#$* what a shitty-ass week!", you'll follow it up with a statement or question that reflects my previous answer and possibly a (genuine) offer to help/support.

2.  When I'm excited/hypomanic about something and blabbing on like I do, you listen attentively and interact in the conversation because even if you'e not quite as verbose or excitable a person, you're genuinely glad to see me happy.

2a. When I'm anxious and also doing the above, you let me talk it through without trying to interject with logical, point by point solutions because you understand that 9.5/10 times I don't really need a solution (I'll figure that out when I calm down), I just need an ear, and to get it all out of my system. Thanks for letting me do that.

3. You share with me also. Not like you share on Facebook (looking at you, 1000-pictures-of-your-lunch-ers), but how you're actually doing too. This helps me to feel that there's a deeper than surface connection. As I've said (quoted) before, "I must be a mermaid, for I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living." (~Anais Nin)

4. You initiate conversations. I often worry that my over-sharing, loud voice, and rapid/frequent talking is too much for people. When you initiate, I breathe a sigh of relief and remind myself that the part of my brain that doubts myself so often is generally full of shit.

5. You initiate plans. This is similar to number 4. Not only do I have anxiety about my condition at times, but I also am an introvert with some social anxiety. I'm good at planning, but I greatly appreciate when you also initiate.  It reminds me that you do really want to spend time with me.

5a. You initiate/agree to/enjoy plans that involve things that don't leave me sitting in the corner hoping the walls don't cave in, cause me to lose precious sleep, or require/are highly centered around alcohol.  This tells me you're thinking of me and my health, and that spending time with me is more important than the actual activity.

6. You read my blog/articles. I think this is self-explanatory.

7. You try to genuinely learn about my condition and aren't afraid to bring it up ask questions. Seriously, this makes me want to hug you.

8.  You get just as angry as I do when you hear someone say "OMG so and so just flipped. It's like s/he's bipolar or something."

9. You participate in/support mental health causes and those organizations/events I'm involved in.

10. You care about me and support me just as much in my worst times as you do in my best.

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