Warning: the following post has discussions of suicide, eating disorders, and sexual assault.
We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share ignorant comments that people have made about their mental illness. Here are some of the responses:
1. "After nine months of dating and seeing me take my meds every morning, my ex wanted me to stop taking them. His reasoning? 'I should make you happy enough. You don’t need those anymore.'”
2. "My 6-year-old son struggles with several mental health disorders but people insist on saying he'll grow out of them or imply that it's all an act."
"I would never tell someone whose child has a physical disability or chronic illness that they'll grow out of it. I would never accuse a child of faking something that subjects them to multiple evaluations and medications."
3. "As someone diagnosed with ADHD, it irks me when people talk/brag about taking Adderall when they really need to get something done or pull an all-nighter."
"Meanwhile, I need to take stimulants like Adderall on a regular basis just to accomplish what most people can do without medication, such as completing tasks in a timely manner or remembering important details."
4. "I've heard people say that all people with borderline personality disorder are horrible, manipulative, abusive devil people who should be avoided at all costs."
5. "Some of my friends (who know my history of suicidal thoughts) joke about wanting to die or kill themselves around me."
6. "A counselor I saw at 16 told me all I needed to do to get over my depression-induced insomnia was think calming thoughts when I went to bed. It's been seven years and it hasn't worked yet."
7. "I've written multiple published personal essays about my OCD, one of which was printed in a national magazine. The summer before college when I was job hunting, a family friend told me that I shouldn't mention my anxiety in my first interviews."
8. "I have PTSD as a result of childhood patterned sexual assaults from a family member. I am discredited for the severity of my PTSD since I am not a military veteran."
"Silence scares me as opposed to loud noises. I have days I force myself out of bed and my family likes to tell me it’s the devil holding me back. Invisible illnesses suck when the people around you lack knowledge and fail to acknowledge the issue."
9. "One of the most ignorant things I frequently hear when I share that I am bipolar is (in a hushed voice), 'Honey don’t tell people that, everyone here gossips and you don’t want them making fun of you saying you’re crazy.'"
"This is particularly ignorant to me because I work in the medical field so these comments are made by nurses, doctors, and people who should definitely know better!"
10. "I have PTSD and depression and my mom once told me I can't be mentally ill because I’m a pretty girl."
11. "I’ve heard people say, about literally anything, 'OMG that gives me PTSD.' No it doesn’t, it just stresses you out."
"I’ve also had someone, upon me telling them that I have PTSD, say 'From what? Your dog dying?' You can’t always tell what someone has been through by looking at them."
12. "I have suffered from debilitating OCD and 75% of the time when I open up about my struggles people say something like 'Oh yeah I have a bit of OCD too, I’m a total neat freak' or 'That’s because you’re a Virgo, right?! I am too!'"
"It’s really difficult because I know they are trying to relate but it really undermines all the hard work I have done and continue to do to be able to live normally."
13. "I hate when people assume you had to have something traumatic happen to you in order to be depressed or anxious. It's hereditary and runs heavily in my family."
14. "I have OCD, and one of the ways it manifests is in washing my hands a lot. One time I got up in the middle of dinner with my family to wash my hands, and my mom made an unrelated comment about OCD, prompting my brother who was seven at the time to ask what OCD was. My mom then very audibly said 'It’s a disease that makes you do weird things, like washing your hands a lot.'"
"She only said it in front of my immediate family, but I felt so ashamed."
15. "I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. I'm a mother and I try really hard to keep it in check. What always makes me feel worse when I'm at my low points is when I'm told to just open the curtains or go for a walk."
"I don't even have the energy to get up with my child who just wants to play. Opening the curtains isn't going to bring me out of my hole."
16. "People said I didn't look like I was struggling with depression or anxiety. That’s the whole reason I broke down and attempted suicide. I was working overtime to look fine. Newsflash people: we don’t have to look depressed or anxious to feel depressed or anxious or anything else for that matter."
17. "Sometimes I talk about my mental illnesses and people will try to one up me like it’s a competition. I’ll say 'I’ve been feeling really sad lately' and they’ll be like 'I’ve always been really sad and depressed and I stubbed my toe this morning.' Umm, okay? I’m sorry? It’s not a competition guys!"
18. "People who believe eating disorders are a choice and not an illness have too often told me to 'just eat,' as if it is that easy and will instantly cure my anorexia nervosa. It’s not that easy and it is most definitely not a choice. It is an illness I fight everyday."
19. "I have health anxiety (also known as hypochondria) and it requires a lot of reassurance that I know can be annoying. But what is more annoying are the phrases 'I've already told you it's fine' or 'Just stop worrying.' Not helpful and I personally find it quite insulting!"
20. "I think the stuff I get about being a voice hearer is the worst. Either people flat-out admit they're afraid of me after they find out, or I get the lovely 'Does he tell you to kill people?'"
"People who hear voices are almost always more of a risk to themselves than other people."
21. "I think maybe my dad was trying to comfort me when he would say stuff like, 'everyone in your generation has anxiety,' or 'everyone gets depressed,' but it always made me feel terrible because it felt like he was telling me everyone else was stronger than me for being able to deal with anxiety and depression on their own."
22. "I went back on my anti-depressant midway through my pregnancy at the insistence of my doctor because I was almost non-functional and had a suicide plan for after giving birth. I mentioned this to a friend and she chastised me that I, 'Shouldn’t be taking anything stronger than Tylenol' because it’s bad for the baby."
If you or someone you know have been struggling with mental health issues, here are some really helpful resources you may want to check out:
- Psychology Today therapist finder
- BuzzFeed's guide to navigating a mental health crisis
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Some submissions have been edited for grammar and clarity.