This week at work, a colleague and I got chatting whilst preparing to be humpe (yet again) by sale shoppers. The subject of choice was old people, and how unbelievably hilarious, albeit controversial, their opinions usually are. We're talking casual racism, casual homophobia, casual EVERYTHING. When I say these things are 'hilarious', I of course mean that the naivety and lack of knowledge behind their views is comical - not the racism/homophobia/whatnot...duh.
I'm looking at you, Sheila. You twisted, magnificent woman.
Anyway, the conversation progressed onto how the elderly perceive mental health. I, being a qualified nutjob who lives with my grandparents, have had countless experiences in this field. And it got me thinking about this post - the inappropriate shit people say and do when they know you're being treated for the blues and anxiety.
And it's not just old people.
Thinking about it now, it's genuinely funny. But at the time, when it happens, you cannot help but make the 'say what now?' face. The good intentions are there, but you can't help but get pissy when people open their cakeholes and their wise words come rolling off their tongue - blessing your poor, tormented mind with an instant calmness.
Note the sarcasm.
Below are genuine things that people have said and done to me since being diagnosed. Some frequently asked questions and daily statements.
Heads up - people are fucking stupid.
*mid panic attack* 'Whatevers making you anxious, just don't think about it, calm down. Switch off from the world!'
Oh my god, I mean..I didn't think to try that! Thank you, oh wise one! (I'll see your 'just dont think about it', and raise you a 'Go fuck yourself'. Dick.)
'Look at the amazing life you have, you're so lucky! What have you got to be depressed about?'
I am not sad through lacking anything, nor through choice. I am sad because the chemicals in my brain are literally making me sad. You know, the same chemicals that make you an assuming, condescending PRICK. Those ones.
*Switches TV channel to prevent me from seeing a sad scene in a film or show* 'I just thought you might not be able to handle it, y'know?'
Understandable, I suppose. Except my depression isn't caused by watching Marley and Me, Mum.
*has a good day* 'OH YOU'RE IN A GOOD MOOD! YAY :D'
Fucked it. Absolutely fucked it. Having depression doesn't mean you can't experience good moods, let's clarify that. It just makes bad moods slightly harder to shake. And if people say this kind of shit to you, it highlights that your good days are easier for everyone. Saying this basically translates as 'Oh good, you seem slightly more upbeat today so I don't need to pretend to be a decent person to you.'
'But you always seem so confident and loud!'
Touche, I do. And its taken me a while to get back to that stage. But bare in mind that Robin Williams, a comedian- a man who was literally a millionaire through being hilarious and brilliantly talented - also had depression, and it killed him. Do not think that all sufferers will have sad faces. THAT is the stigma of the illness.
'Do you not think it's a bit drastic to put you on medication?'
I had this said to me a week after I first thought about topping myself into the canal. 'Bit drastic'? Nahhhh babes. Anything that doesn't make me do that is just sublime, thanks though. Not to mention the implication that my feelings were so temporary and easily fixed using fucking prayers and aromatherapy oils from Body Shop. Bye, Felicia.
'I just don't really believe depression is a thing. I think you make a choice to feel that way and for it to stick.'
Me and this person are no longer friends. That's all.
'OH YOU HAVE DEPRESSION? Do you like, hurt yourself?'
This is actually a thing. Someone has LEGIT asked me this. No, I don't. Nor will I ever. But for asking that with an intrigued smirk on your face, you should.
'You shouldn't really be out at parties then, should you?'
Quite the contrary, my friend. Quite the fucking contrary.
'So, like, what makes you sad then?'
My serotonin levels, bae. WBU?
'Aw babe, I think you just need a cup of tea and a big cuddle.'
And I think you need to get the fuck away from me, Sliver Dick.
'Know what calms me down and cheers me up? Serving customers and interacting with people.'
New manager to me, on our first shift together. Yup.
AND MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE!
'You just need to talk about it. Come on, what's wrong?'
Off. You. Shall. Fuck. If someone's wants to talk, they eventually will. And it'll take all the energy that they have to do so, it took me a week just to prepare myself to talk to my best friend about how I was feeling. So sitting in Starbucks and talking to you about it will NOT cure anything. Sorry.
I did warn you, people are stupid.
Published by Kathryn Conroy