"It's all in your head!"
Really? Is that why it's called a mental illness? Never would've guessed. That's not comforting, btw.
"You should be trying to get better."
Because trying various forms of therapy so isn't me trying to get better. 'Course not. It's just a weird hobby of mine, y'know? Psst, as a side-note: if it was that easy to get better, we'd all be better already.
"Hey, at least you get to miss school!"
Great. This is such a party. (I'd rather go to school than have a mental illness. I think most people would.)
"But you were fine a week ago."
Yeah, and now I'm not. Tough. All people struggling with their mental health go through patches that are rougher than others. It's like the development of a cold - you're fine, then gradually not fine, and then completely rubbish... except this repeats and repeats and repeats all year round.
"Can't you just try?"
Wow, I hadn't considered that before. You've cured me with your wisdom.
"Don't take medication, it'll change your personality."
Medication exists for a reason. Unless you're a medical professional, telling someone not to take their medication is dangerous.
"Don't take medication. There are so many side effects and you'll hate them all."
There are side-effects with pretty much everything. Also, this is the wrong thing to say to anyone with a mental illness, especially when they have anxiety. WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
"Can I catch it?"
Um, no? Mental illness isn't contagious. *headdesk*
"You're missing out on life, you should get out more."
I'm fully aware that I'm completely missing my adolescence. We're all aware that our illnesses are making us miss out on things. Did you really need to reiterate that? Ouch.
"So you're, like, crazy now?"
"It's probably just a phase."
What you're really saying is that my feelings don't mean anything and aren't valid. Awesome. Thanks.
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"So... you have a mental illness? Does that mean you're suicidal?"
I get why this can be an important question to ask but it's also inappropriate. Just because someone has a mental illness does not automatically mean they wish to die. Please don't treat them like psychology homework.
"Snap out of it."
Sure, let me just pencil that in. Hey, you have cancer? You don't need chemotherapy, you can just snap out of it, right? Cool.
At the end of the day, a person with mental illness is not a puzzle for you to work out. They're not there for your entertainment, or for you to use in your psychology exam, or for you to gossip about. They're just people working through some stuff. We're just people working through some stuff.
This post isn't meant to be authoritative on the subject. Some people might not mind some of these things being said to them - I can't speak for everyone! It's just here as a reminder that everyone has a lot going on behind what they necessarily show the world.
Try to understand us, do research of your own and, of course, don't be afraid to ask questions. But think before you speak. Be compassionate and mindful, and all will be well. :)
Are there any phrases you would add to the list?