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The Pressure to "Get Better"

Image by Franz Bachinger from Pixabay

Lately, I have been facing pressure from family and friends to "get better" from my depression. The longer this depression drags on, the more insistent they become that I need to do something differently. They are becoming increasingly frustrated with me for feeling down.

I'm pretty sure that if I had a dollar for every time someone screamed at me something along the lines of, "Why can't you just be happy?" I would never need to work again. If only it were really just that easy. Sure, I can "try harder" to pull myself out of this depression, but if it was really that easy, I would have already done it.

For those of us with mental illness, coping with other people's frustrations with our conditions is pretty much par for the course.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand that mental illnesses are lifelong, and that none of them are curable. There are just treatments, not cures.

People with mental illnesses cannot receive a one-time treatment that causes their symptoms to disappear. Like some other serious medical conditions, mental illnesses require long-term treatment to manage. Therefore, there is no cure.

When you have a mental illness, you can receive treatment in the form of therapy, medication, attending support groups, and coping skills to practice at home. You learn to manage the best you can with your symptoms; they may even go away for some time, but they can come back at any time, especially under stress.

In addition to traditional therapy, there are other lifestyle factors that can improve your mental health, including:

  • Journaling

  • Mindfulness

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Exercise

  • Spending time outdoors

  • Practicing gratitude

  • Spending time with a pet

  • Calling a friend

  • Practicing Self-care

By adding some, or all, of these activities to your day, it can help you create a more positive mindset. Working on your mindset, as well as your physical health, can help when you have mental health issues. Still, like anyone, you are going to have days when you feel better than others.

More research is needed

Since there is no cure yet for any mental health condition, more research is needed! In advocating for the mental health community, we need to keep this in the forefront of our minds. We need to continuously ask our government and communities to invest in mental health.

The more we can advocate for ourselves, and demand more research into finding a cure for our debilitating conditions, the more we help those who will follow in our footsteps.

It can be difficult to advocate for yourself as a mentally ill person, and it is unfair that the onus often lies completely on individuals to advocate for their own needs. Especially when having a mental health condition can make it especially difficult to do this.

So, for anyone who has a friend or family member who has a mental illness and finds themselves getting frustrated, remember it is not their fault. They have an incurable disease. Instead of getting angry with them as an individual, let this spark a motivation to advocate for a cure! This would be so appreciated by many people who struggle to advocate for themselves.

Read more about advocacy:

And remember, more than anything else, the mentally ill person in your life needs compassion and kindness. If you aren't at a place where you can give that it is understandable, because compassion fatigue is a real thing too. Take time for self-care, but always be kind. It makes more of a difference than you could possibly know.

Finally, if you are in a position where you are struggling with a mentally ill friend or family remember that old childhood saying: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

If you really cannot cope with being around someone who is mentally ill, give them the gift of silence, instead of more judgement. We all get enough of that already.

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