How To Handle Someone With A Mental Illness.

I've written a lot about mental illnesses and such, but never addressed how to correctly handle them.

@SirenDep here you go.

How To Handle Someone With  A Mental Illness.

Never say you're "dealing" with them.

If it's to their face or not, you're not "dealing" with them. They aren't a problem, they're human. They're dealing with an illness of the mind, you're handling someone who's not 100% well.

Try to help them feel better.

This may not always work but keep in mind, it always helps. If they're depressed, let them know they're not alone, try to make them laigh. If they have anxiety, try to reassure them of their worries or try to calm them down after a panic attack. If they have OCD, help them with whatever process they need to go through if you can.

Making them feel better isn't always an option, but just being nice to them, is.

Tolerate their actions.

If they behave badly (say due to depression, they snap at you) don't let them get away with it, but be nice. Even if you're mad, don't show it, or at least be nice at the way you express your anger. They have to know you won't take any shit from them but that you won't stop being their friend because they made a mistake.

Encourage them to improve their behavior.

Do this in a very gentle and loving way, especially if face to face. You don't need to walk on egg-shells around them (depending on the person), but just be nice. If you're afraid something you say will trigger them, try to re-word yourself or explain thoroughly.

Talk about it with them.

Don't let them think that it's a taboo subject unless they specifically mention they're not comfortable talking about it. Talking about it allows understanding between the two of you, and a better grasp of the illness.

Don't alienate them.

They're just like you and I, they're people who need/want people to care for them.They wanna be genuinely cared for, not out of pity. Don't alienate them and make yourself their only friend, and don't ignore them-even if they're annoying you. Just nicely tell them you'd like some time alone.

Try to understand it.

Even if you can't, just try to. They'll appreciate the effort and it may help you understand what it's like to have the illness or what exactly it consists of.

If you find out after becoming friends, don't treat them differently.

If you've been friends a while or just become friends and they confide in you "I have a mental illness," don't let it affect the way you think of them. They're the same person they were before, you just now have new knowledge about them. (Just like if a friend comes out as LGBT or something).

If someone has anxiety, reassure them. Text them that you got home safely, let them know everything's okay etc. If someone has depression, make sure you let them know you're there for them. For OCD, (that one's kinda difficult), I suggest just to help them finish whatever process they need to.

For other illnesses it's more difficult, but all in all, be nice to them. They're human too.

Telling someone with a mental illness to snap out of it, is like telling someone who's deaf to listen harder.


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What Guys Said 14

  • "you're handling someone who's not 100% well."

    Well in all absolute technicality, dealing with someone who's not well in whatever shape of form (both physically and mentally) does still count as "dealing" with them. If something is a burden on you that takes you out of your unhindered routine, then by all accounts you're "dealing" with it/them.

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    • If they're a burden (such as stressing you, causing problems etc) then yes you're dealing with them. But I meant in a very generalized way with friendship.

  • There are some good points in there. I think the crucial one you missed was actually defining what mental illness is. Formalities aside, I think everyone has some degree of mental illness. There can be various causes, massive cognitive dissonance, being psychologically inconsistent, infections, brain shapes and development, can all be factors. Rooting out inconsistencies is one way I have found to improve my mental state. There are things on the surface and things that go deep. Some of these inconsistencies can manifest in what humans think of as physical reality. For example, eating right and exercising can be seen as healthy behaviors, but do you do some for your health, but not others? Why? If you take the time to exercise, why wouldn't you take time to eat right? One might think clearer, faster, or even slower, yet have a better "overall" picture of what's going on. There are real benefits to discovering and rooting out inconsistencies.

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  • Wait did you seriously just do a mytake on the legalization of cannabis then one on dealing with people who have mentail illness...

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  • that's a cute quote in the top image :-)

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  • First issue: Many, many humans are problems. Serious ones. If your friend goes out and axe murders a family, chances are you should treat them like a problem. A big problem. If they're a pain in the ass, they are being a problem.

    The job of a friend is to provide some kind of benefit. Increasing survivability, providing entertainment, companionship, information, networking. If they can do none of these, then you're better off just dropping them until they can--if ever. It's not your job to save people. People have to save themselves.

    And really, if you do want to help them, I really dislike this coddling aspect. Truth is that they need to get off their ass--no matter *how* they're feeling--and get their life together. A depressed person will remain depressed if they just lay in bed all day--particularly if you give them *sympathy* for doing so. The way to *stop* being depressed, is to get out and do things.

    If they're not hitting Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, then they are going to be depressed. They *lack* something: and depression is their brain's way of saying "Dude. Seriously. Go get this shit. We need it." Depression is the single most over-diagnosed "mental illness". It is normal to feel. People want, as Robin Williams called it, a fukitol pill.

    "You don't need to step on eggshells, just reword everything you want to say and treat them extra nice, [unlike how you treat other people]" Exactly how is this not stepping on eggshells? This is politically correct culture in a nut (ty) shell.

    The DSM, the diagnostic bible, changes on a yearly basis--widening supposed symptoms of newfangled "mental illnesses". Big Pharma rebrands (and expands the use of) medications. Psychiatrists are encouraged to over-prescribe as a means to achieve the ultimate goal of any business: profit. Point being, Big Pharma has an economic motivation for as many people as possible to be "mentally ill".

    No tests are done to determine your "neurotransmitter labels". There is no way to test for "mental illness". Convenient, isn't it? Schizophrenia, however, is clearly a mental illness. Stuff like "I'm sad all the time", is just the brain's way to tell you you lack something and need to get off your ass and go get it. If you don't, it punches you into the ground.

    Psychology over psychiatry, for one: so encourage them to seek therapy.

    And. Don't feel like you're responsible for them. You're not. It's their life; their job to fix.

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    • I'm afraid I have to disagree with some of your points. It is true that the healthcare has become driven by pharmaceutical interests, but there are legitimate cases where psychiatric intervention is needed for depression. There wouldn't be suicides and self-harming behaviour otherwise.

      Also, those whose mental illnesses are founded on trauma may have word-based triggers for traumatic flashbacks. So it is prudent to be careful with words around them.

      But yeah, a person with mental illness should want and try to get well. Family and friends are only there as support.

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    • @Rawrzz You should've written your own Take in response to the poster's lol

      A romanticist, in the sense that you have an ideal for friendships that you refuse to compromise? That's not wrong, I suppose, so long as you don't overdo it.

    • @Nachtmeerde Yeah. I haven't written a MyTake, yet. Finding pictures for it is what seems annoying to me, so I've just ignored it. Although, I did have a few pages of stuff related to the topic on hand. I copy and pasted most of this, actually. rofl. So it came out as an abridged version of my other writing on a different website. Although, it probably would have been better to do a Take. But, *shrug*. I like having the 2,500 limit, so I don't go overboard. If there was no limit, I would write a 10 page essay probably. One thing connects to another thing which connects to another thing. I don't know if I could stop. :O Someone's always going to come up with a counterargument, so my goal is preemptively giving explanations for all possible counterarguments: endless.

      Mmm. I don't think so. I developed the idea that all true romanticists will end up the complete opposite. Ah, from Oscar Wilde. "the worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic."

  • I really like your takes

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  • I dated a bi-polar girl years ago. No more ! It was too draining. Too many
    normal, sane people.

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  • I agree with this MyTake.

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  • That's a good quote. I believe when you want something you should never give up on it. NEVER.

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  • YOU ARE COOL

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    • and a highly advanced human being. more people should be like u

    • Thank you and I don't want people more like me haha
      then I wouldn't be as unique as I am because everyone would be like me, making people like me common.

    • YOU ARE CORRECT!

  • As someone with bipolar phase one, panic attack and sometimes even mania, this was good. 😌

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  • Nice take - In a lot of things from interaction to serious issues like this - Open/honest/ full communication is required - While all you said has very solid foundation can I just say everyones' journey through mental illness is completely different - There is no handbook to helping someone with mental illness - It might take a person researching and trying out a 1,000 things before they find the 10 things that really help them cope - It could be months of mixing medication with different dosages or no medication, therapy or just plain old experience "Well that helped before".
    The final thing to say is don't be scared by mental illness, it is often terrifying to see someone suffer and feel powerless to help but the vast majority of people get through their episodes and find ways to cope. It may take a bit of time and perhaps the simplest bit of advice worth a 100 takes is just "Be There" for them.

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  • Unfortunetly many do give up on those who have mental illness but i really like your take on it :)

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  • I did that for many years and got nothing out of it so NO!!! I tolerated her bi polar disorder and she never so much as gave me a bar of chocolate.

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    • You shouldn't need to receive anything but friendship, tolerating someone with a mental illness doesn't mean you get a reward. It means you're a decent human being.

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    • Taking advantage is certainly not something to allow, but you don't need to receive anything from the friendship except friendship.

    • Er, so, what kept you in the relationship for YEARS, then? That's a long time, dude...

      Fantastically good sex?

What Girls Said 8

  • My boyfriend is the only one to master how to deal with my mental disorder. He will tell me if I'm acting like a cunt or taking things out on him when its not his fault. Which has helped me to improve greatly.

    Just most people are lazy bums who don't care enough to help people like that out.

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    • That's good, and some people are too sensitive to deal with such bluntness (but that's the kind of honesty I enjoy)

      and I know

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    • ahah "OP" (original poster) is actually you, but, yah gotcha xD

    • @redeyemindtricks I didn't mean to put OP lol I was thinking "Opinion Owner" but my fingers typed OP anyway

  • It depends on what the mental illness is and what your relationship is to them. Like if they have npd or hpd or bipolar disorder or are skitzo then just get out of there asap and bolt the door on your way out. Your duty is to protect your own safety and mental health, not worry about theirs. That's what therapists are for. And policemen.

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  • Yeah I know. Both my boyfriend and I have depression pretty bad. And he also has ADD and General anxiety... It is really hard to understand what he's going through even though I have a mental illness too. He has short bursts of extreme emotion while my episodes are really long but not as extreme the whole time. He can be sad one minute, then he is able to calm down, but I am usually depressed for days, weeks at a time. It feels like it never goes away. He can be happy at certain times, but I don't know if I even have happiness unless I'm with him... Even when you BOTH have mental illnesses it is hard to understand each other and it is draining for the both of us, but we'll get through it and hopefully we'll both be in control of our minds when we get older, he's already 21 but he still hasn't gotten control yet. But that doesn't matter to me :) I'll help him through it until we can both say "I'm okay"

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  • <3 why does it have to be so hard for some of us even when we try so hard to just be

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  • I enjoyed reading your take. Good info. Well done. ❤️

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  • I like this. You got good empathy in that big ol' heart of yours, girl. <3

    That illness-wellness thing is fucking genius, and I am totally stealing it.

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  • Sorry but I'm not a psychiatrist or a rehabilitator. If an adult with a mental illness refuses to seek help and becomes a drain on my life I will leave and won't apologize for it.

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  • Thanks for taking the time to write a Take, and you did it so soon! Of course, love and understanding goes a long way. However, it's tough to find the balance between tolerating/forgiving their actions and standing your ground/not being taken advantage of.

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