Note: This is not an angry rant post—read with a sense of humor, smile, and a laugh! That’s the way it was intended.
I’ve always wanted to write a Top Ten list of Stupid S*** people say about mental illness. It’d probably end up being longer though since I’ve heard so many. But recently I’ve stopped noticing these types of things as much and been more surprised by the completely ignorant comments people make in passing. That probably reads harsher than I mean it (I’m smiling as I type this), but there’s really no other word for it. I’ve listed some of those comments in italics below, with my thoughts on why they are just totally inappropriate.
I’ve been so distracted today. I’m just so ADD.
First, I know for a fact that you’re not. Second, you’ve been running between a bunch of different projects which can definitely be exhausting or frustrating—but you’re a really successful employee who normally is pretty focused (I know—I’ve had to work with you!). Third, are your levels of glutamate off balance (along with several other neurotransmitters)?
I had a panic attack this morning—I couldn’t find my car keys and I had looked everywhere.
I have a medically diagnosed panic disorder and I’ve spent more time looking for my keys than probably any other activity in my life (with the exception of maybe sleep!) and it has never caused a full blown panic attack. Now this did come from one of the most organized people I know, so I’m not discounting that she was probably pretty rattled. Because of their normal personality they likely even had one common symptom of a panic attack—feeling out of touch with reality! However, they didn’t feel out of their body, short of breath, have chills and shakes, and an intense terror of some unknown.
It’s easy like therapy. We just let them talk a lot, about the same thing week after week, and smile and nod a lot.
Therapy is exhausting! It’s a lot of work! And it’s way too expensive to talk about the same thing week after week! And if I wanted someone to smile and nod—I’d buy a bobble doll. Oh! Probably one of someone really cute like Matt Bomer.
I’m OCD—I re-organized my entire closet by color yesterday and it made me feel so much better.
Awesome! Want to come do mine tomorrow? See I was so busy trying to convince myself not to go back into the bathroom to pick at my face for the fifth time in the last two hours, and having compulsive thoughts about cutting myself to even hang up my coat!
I need to get my daughter a new roommate. I think hers is bipolar, and you can’t have a normal life living with a bipolar person!
No comments other than the comeback my mom could have given to her “yeah, my son-in-law is having a hard time with it too”. Amazing!
To be honest, none of these comments actually offended me. I was raised in a military household where being PC was highly overrated. I know I’ve made a few (or a lot) of my own non-PC comments and unknowingly offended some around me. To them I apologize. I didn’t mean to hurt you and it was out of ignorance not malice. But that’s no excuse. My own condition has opened my eyes to how comments can affect those around me and that I never know who is listening. Hopefully, now that my eyes are opened I can be more careful and also find gentle non-offensive ways to help others understand how their flippant comments can be misunderstood.