Should you treat a person with a mental illness differently



uhm yes

no wait, no.

eeeps… how could this be confusing?


wait, lets remove the word mental

Should you treat a person with an illness differently.



I read a post today, from Blessed / Depressed called Defend your right to be Mad. The comment her BF said “Have you taken your medication today?”  in response to her showing some anger, rightfully so,  at something he did/said, has to be at the top of the list of things to not say, EVER, in response to someone showing anger at something you did to upset them. 

It should be, perhaps said, out of the blue, as a gentle reminder, to show you care. We all forget to do these things sometimes. But if you want to find the shortest route to watching someone growl, sputter and shred a pillow, as steam gently shoots across the room, just ahead of the fireballs… that may be it.

So, should we treat someone with an illness differently, notice I left out the word mental this time?

Yes. We shouldn’t expect someone with a broken leg to mow the lawn or get us a coffee….

We shouldn’t expect someone with an upset tummy to make our dinner…

We shouldn’t ask someone with strong anxiety issues to go to the store for us, alone…

We shouldn’t ask someone with depression to “snap out of it”

or tell that person with anxiety issues to “buck up.”..

words can hurt.

More than a slap.

Should we then, not expect a person with an illness to do anything?

again, the word mental is omitted. 

A person with a broken leg, needs to exercise. So perhaps asking them to get their own glass of water is not too cruel, They need to strengthen their leg again. But we could walk along side of them, to catch them if they stumble.

A person with an anxiety issue, should answer the phone, this is what strengthens them, helps them to overcome their anxiety. but we could sit with them, and hold their hand. Squeeze it and smile at them, so they know we are supporting them, there to catch them if they stumble. The phone becomes less daunting when they complete some calls on it, with no problems. Little things, small steps, they work.

So it isn’t really rocket science is it? 

Yes we should treat someone with an illness differently, mental, physical. But we should treat them the same too.

Not condescending. Not demeaning, 



Mental, it just means it is in the head. Yes you don’t understand it. Have you tried to? 




About sensuousamberville

I am a Practitioner, teacher and student. I think we should always be students, we should keep our minds open, to continue to learn. :-) Now a mother of two little ones.

6 responses »

  1. 🙂 as usual an informative and caring post xx

  2. Excellent post!!
    I’ve had the “have you taken your meds?” conversation as well as, “maybe I should contact your psychiatrist!” Neither went down well!

  3. When I’m having a difficult time emotionally because of my BPD symptoms, my mother-in-law always tells me that maybe I should try a different medication, because obviously that one’s not working (or else I wouldn’t be feeling bad at all), and asks me if my counsellor and psychiatrist know about it (whatever’s bothering me at the time.) I tell her that, with the way my brain is wired, and the circumstances at the moment, and the coping skills I’m using (that I learned from DBT), I’m doing the best I can at the time, and THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH, and I’m good enough the way I am. I tell her that it’s extremely invalidating to ask me these things all the time, and that she’s making me feel worse instead of better, that if she wants me to feel better, stop making me feel like I’m not good enough, that I need to be “fixed.” It’s usually easier to just put on my “happy face” mask. But you can only do that for so long before it slips, and I shouldn’t have to anyway. People without BPD can never fully understand what we go through, as far as I’m concerned. I believe they can, to a point. That’s all I ask, is that they make the effort to understand as best they can, and support you however they can.

    • no one could truly understand what anyone goes through, but to make an effort.. a non intrusive one, is supportive. But to be asked if you are off your meds.. that is not going to help much.

      sometimes though, when everyone is calm a discussion about meds or therapy can be had, not an accusing, but one of, how is it going, are you happy with both, comfortable, it shows concern. But to be tossed at you in response to something, is definitely invalidating.

      *sneaks hugs* 🙂


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