Anxiety: This too shall pass, even if that sounds corny and cliche. Your anxiety will subside, you are not dying, you will not die from this, everything is going to be fine. Keep taking deep breaths, try and stay focused.
Depression: You are valid and your emotions are valid. You are a good, strong person, even if you don’t feel like you are right now. Things DO get better, and I know you can get through this.
Sexual Orientation: Your body, your life, your bedroom. You choose what you do with it, and I get no say in the matter, because I am not you. I’ll respect you no matter what.
Bipolar: The sun also rises. For all your bad days, weeks, or longer— you also have good ones just beyond the horizon. You know better than anyone what it means to finally hit those “highs” in your life, and I hope that you just keep growing and strengthening yourself through your treatment to extend those happy moments.
Self harm: This is your body and I’ll never pass judgement over you for the things you choose to do with it. However, you should really consider speaking with a counselor about this. Not because you’re “bad”, but because I just want you to be safe.
Eating disorders: It’s okay to eat, you have permission. Eating will not make you fat, ugly, or worthless. Eating will make you strong, healthy, and lively. You deserve to eat, you deserve happiness.
Abuse: What they did was wrong, and you had no consenting part in it. You have no need to feel guilty or shamed, although I understand that may be exactly how you are feeling right now. They’re the ones at fault here, and the ball is entirely in your court if you choose to report them for that, which you are rightfully entitled to do.
Suicide: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You are valuable and your existence is valuable. There are billions of people on this planet, and even if you think everyone hates you and no one cares, they do and they will. You can find so many friends and loved ones if you just allow yourself the time to look for them. The world turns out to be a beautiful place and you deserve to be alive to see that.
Sexual assault: What they did was vile and disgusting. Yes, you’re now left with this horrible, traumatic event to move on from, but your life is not entirely lost. Recovery is possible, and an unfortunately large number of people have to go through that— but they make it to the other side. So can you, you can do this. You’re not dirty, you’re not a “slut” or a “whore”, you are a human being whose rights were violated. But you are strong, and I know you can move past this in due time.
Multiple Personality Disorder: I’ll always love you no matter who you are. I only hope the absolute best for you during your recovery and treatment, and maybe one day I’ll be so privileged as to love you as one whole.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The pain of suddenly reliving horrific events is almost unimaginable for me. Please try and remember that although it feels like it’s real and it’s happening right now, that it’s not. You are okay, you are fine, and you are safe. You are in the present here and now, and that past can’t manifest itself again to come and physically hurt you. Everything is just fine, these feelings will pass and you’re going to be okay.
Schizophrenia: I am real and I can promise you that. I care. Try and find something grounding for you, an object that you can cling to to help you distinguish between whether or not you’re hallucinating. You are not a freak, you are not a monster. You’re a human being with rights and emotions who happens to be ill right now.
UH. I mean, I can’t and am not going to speak to all of these, and obviously every one of these things manifests different from person to person, and of course I’m sure that whoever the source is (the one linked up there is what came up when I converted the post from chat to text format, but tumblr being tumblr, who knows), but WOW SOME OF THIS IS WRONG. LIKE. DANGEROUSLY INCORRECT. LIKE. OH MY GOD??
It’s never a good idea to suggest to a sexual assault survivor that their life isn’t “entirely lost,” because of their assault — it suggests that their life part of their life is lost, and it fucking isn’t, at all, even slightly. It’s never a good idea to talk at (not to, suggesting they brought it up first, but at, as this post suggests you do) a sexual assault survivor about how vile, disgusting, horrible, or traumatic their assault was — you run the risk of making them feel vile or disgusting and the risk of triggering them, and also? Unless you were there, being assaulted along with them? You have NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. The most important thing you can do with a survivor of sexual assault or rape is let them take the reins, give them choices, ask them what they want. What happened to them was a fundamental loss of control; don’t be someone else who takes control away from them. And don’t touch them unless they ask you to. Seriously. Fucking don’t.
It’s never a good idea to tell someone with PTSD “the pain of suddenly reliving deeply traumatic events is almost unimaginable to me” — first of all, someone else’s PTSD is not ABOUT you, and secondly, again, unless you were there with the person in question for the event in question, THE EXPERIENCE OF THEIR TRAUMA AND THE PAIN OF RELIEVING IT IS ENTIRELY UNIMAGINABLE TO YOU. It’s not necessarily a bad idea to try to ground someone with PTSD in the present moment if they are dissociating/losing time/having a flashback, but a pontificating speech about how “You are in the present and the past can’t come back” is absolutely useless to someone who is manifesting the symptom of NOT KNOWING WHEN THEY ARE, OH MY GOD!! Specifics. Are. Required. “It is [time] on [Month/Day/Year] and you are in [location].” And don’t touch them unless they ask you to. Seeeeeriously. Fucking don’t.
Eating disorders, oh my god — this is all terrible shit to say to someone with an ED, like, please don’t. First of all, “Eating will not make you fat, ugly, or worthless,” no, stop, you shouldn’t be suggesting that having a certain body type is a bad thing to anyone let alone someone with an eating disorder, YOU SHOULDN’T BE GROUPING THE WORD FAT WITH THE WORDS UGLY AND WORTHLESS TO ANYONE LET ALONE SOMEONE WITH AN EATING DISORDER. STIGMATIZING FATNESS IS NEVER OKAY AND IT’S ESPECIALLY NOT OKAY IN THIS CONTEXT!! DON’T. DO. THAT. JESUS. Secondly, for real: do you think that saying “It’s okay to eat,” to people with EDs is going to magically change their relationships with food and eating? Do you think that “You have permission to eat,” is going to do anything but play into the idea that food is some kind of earned reward? Do you think EDs featuring in self-starvation are the only kind of EDs there are? Do you think people with EDs aren’t aware that human beings need food to survive? Because if you do you are wrong, like wildly wrong, like all that shit is incorrect to the point that you definitely should not be advising other people on how to talk to people with EDs about EDs, dear god. But here is a good idea if you know someone with an eating disorder: ASK. THEM. WHAT. THEY. NEED. FROM. YOU. ON. THIS. TOPIC. And then! Do that! Like. Just.
Which, actually, HEY-O, allow me to get to the important point here which is that hey hi you, yes you, reading this post, if you are dealing with someone who is not your medical patient with any of these issues — if you are dealing with someoneone who has one of these issues who has not entrusted themselves to you, or been entrusted to you by someone with the legal power to do so, in order to receive your professional medical care — then there is one thing you always do, and only one. When someone says to you, “I have/am dealing with/have dealt with [x item on this list],” you say to them — either in that moment or the next moment you feel they are calm or lucid enough to answer you — you say to them, “What, if anything, can I do or say to helpful in a time of crisis?” AND THEN YOU DO. WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO. People living with depression, with anxiety, with PTSD, with eating disorders, people with conditions like dissociative identity disorder or schizophrenia, people who have survived abuse and assault: they are living. With their shit. Living with it, okay, as in their shit is their roommate inside their own brain, it is with them all day every day and they know it better than you. Learn that. Know that. Respect that.
If you suspect someone is in danger of harming or killing themselves, contact professionals immediately. If you believe someone needs help beyond what you are able to offer, offer your assistance in helping them track that sort of aid down. Otherwise? Ask them what they need and then shut the fuck up and listen to them. They may not know what they need (in which case, you may want to go to a professional and ask their advice)! They may direct you to someone else who knows what they need (in which case, away to that person you should go)! They may tell you they don’t need anything from you (which you will have to accept)! But I guaran-fucking-tee you that saying, “What can I do to be helpful,” is more helpful than most of the shit on this list, some of which is actively harmful. Just. Christ.
Re-blogging because Gyzym’s advice is really good.
I’ve read the original post with increasing perplexity. I feel like its author genuinely wants to create answers which convey understanding and connection.
However, a better way to show understanding is to actually listen to the other person. Asking “What can I do to be helpful ?” is a very good way to listen.
Fun fact : I’m a social worker and am around schizophrenic adults all week. Our biggest pitfall is giving ANSWERS instead of listening and trying to connect with the other person (because obviously, we are PROFESSIONNALS, so we KNOW STUFF, right ?) and it happens ALL THE TIME. Shutting up and listening is HARD :D