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Forums / Relationship and family issues / They just wont understand, why?

Topic: They just wont understand, why?

  1. white knight
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    white knight avatar
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    11 February 2016
    We hear those words often. The trouble is, there is a word in that sentence that doesn’t
    fit, it shouldn’t be there. It’s the word “wont”

    “Wont” means they have a choice to understand your emotional struggles. It should, in many
    cases, be replaced with “don’t” or "cant"

    For these people are the people we love and they love us. Would they, make the choice of not understanding? Understanding…what does that entail? Do we expect our partners, children, friends and parents to understand what its like to have our minds as if it’s in a cloud? Or throbbing like a migraine? Or whysome of us sleep for what seems endless hours?  What about when our carer partner has been so long without
    love making and their frustration explodes and we chant “you just don’t understand”!!!

    I put it to you, that it is us also that doesn’t understand what its like to be a partner of a mentally ill person. In respect to this an article I wrote a long time ago now can be googled- “Topic: who cares for the carer- beyondblue” In that thread I mentioned that if you can walk to the toilet, answer the phone and get yourself something to eat during the day while your partner is at work….you can also greet him/her as they walk in the door, have a cuppa and a chat asking how their day went before you slip back into bed if you must.

    Some cant, understandably. But some wont! A choice (note the word “wont”) is made. In
    these cases they are hurting the ones they love.

    I’m lucky, my wife has depression, it comes and goes. We never say “you wont understand”. We both do understand. However my last partner and before her, my first wife, never understood my struggles. Those days I believed that they chose to not understand. I was wrong. They had little hope of understanding. Why?

    Simply  because the other person doesn’t “feel” the effects of the illness. And there might also be the blaming effect to, to blame others through our own expectations of what we are pleading for.

    Whatever sooths you and comforts you from your partner – tell them what that is. Think about your needs whether is a daily hug, a hand on the shoulder or an ear with the occasional comment or question. For your partner or loved one likely has no concept of what they can do to help. And that in itself can be agonising.

    We should never get the feeling or not being loved mixed up with a lack of ability to help us. It’s not
    that they wont understand-its more likely they cant understand so they don’t.

    Tony WK

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  2. Agnetha
    Agnetha avatar
    52 posts
    11 February 2016 in reply to white knight

    My partner

    a) don't understand me

    b) can't understand me

    c) won't understand me

    d ) all of the above

     

    Answer d)

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  3. Maureen
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    16 February 2016 in reply to Agnetha

    I have a friend who doesn't understand. She is one of those people who believes we should just get over it. I was finding it difficult to remain in contact with her. Then one of her family got depression. I was so worried she might destroy her relationship with this family member that I decided to send this friend an email explaining in detail what it was like for me to have depression. Unfortunately I am incapable of doing this face to face. Then I said in the email that if she would just ask how I'm going and listen when I responded it would make such a difference. She has done this for me and my hope is that she would interact with her family member in a similar way. In return I tell her truthfully how I am, but I don't go into detail or waffle on too long. 

    We're still good friends. Thank god. It's hard to find good friends.

    Maureen

     

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  4. white knight
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    16 February 2016 in reply to Maureen

    Hi Maureen, thankyou for posting

    You are lucky with your friend. But you are spot on, most don't make the effort to listen then understand. Any effort to understand in my view is more important than the understanding itself.

    Is she the only friend that has mad an effort?

    Tony WK

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  5. Maureen
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    17 February 2016 in reply to white knight
    I've been very lucky in that my close friends and family have all been very supportive and are very understanding. Mind you, the family is now starting to push for me to get back to work. It's been over a year. I'm 55 and they're worried ill never go back. 
    2 people found this helpful
  6. white knight
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    17 February 2016 in reply to Maureen

    Hi Maureen,

    For what its worth, I retired at 57yo 3 years ago following two breakdown episodes. My father retired at 55yo following a heart attack and his father at 52yo.

    People might be thinking that at your age 55yo you are too young to retire. I say - everyones an individual and where it concerns mental health issues some can work on some cant.

    For 18 years I ran my own business as a PI. I excelled in the job, was the first choice for many companies etc. But when your mental endurance has hit a wall then that's it!!!  No more. I'm now recovered really well but am really fragile also. If I returned to work of any sort in a part time capacity, I'd likely let others down with attendance.

    I know and my wife knows I'm not well enough and appears I wont ever be well enough to return to employment of any sort. That's all that matters. Is that if I could I would and I cant.

    Tell yourself Maureen "I'm not in this world to live up to others expectations..."

    Tony WK

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  7. VoxAmino
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    26 January 2018 in reply to white knight

    I might forward this topic to a friend of mine who has been having some pretty bad personal stuff lately. It's really, really hard when your family or partner or whoever can't understand but you are 100% correct, sometimes they just physically can't understand. My partner is the type of person who can just willpower through any issues (no idea how he does that haha) so he sometimes doesn't understand why I can't do the same especially if the issue isn't a big deal according to him. That said, he acknowledges that I can't just get over it so when I do reach out for his help he does try to support me and help me out any way he can. I know he is trying to help and I really do appreciate it. Because he genuinely tries, I make sure to at least sit down with him and watch a show or play a game or something when we have time because it makes him happy. Relationships with people who don't get it can be hard, just as I am sure being in a relationship with a depressed person can be hard at times, but you can make it work as long as everyone understands that sometimes, they just can't fully understand the other person, and that's ok as long as you make an effort to try. 

  8. white knight
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    3 February 2018 in reply to VoxAmino

    Hi vox

    Great reply, so true.

    As long as they make effort. Very apt.

    I just severed a friendship. This guy I've known 10 uears had a mother and two brothers take their own lives. Yet because he believed he couldnt understand them, he took the view that there is no point trying to understand me. Hence no effort.

    Hence no friendship. And thats the thing with us mentally challenged, if there is no effort to take interest at all in our struggles then thete is no middle ground IMO.

    I have more important people to give to.

    Tony WK

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  9. QldMouse
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    3 February 2018 in reply to white knight

    Great thought provoking thread.

    Yes you can trim your friends down, I have, the list is now empty and it hurts.

    Not as much as the hurt when my wife who also has depression can't seem to understand, or it does seam won't understand, or doesn't believe, or thinks my pain is unimportant.

    People do choose to hear what they want to hear, I still find that so amazing after all these years.

  10. Sleepy21
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    5 April 2020 in reply to QldMouse
    some people can't understand and have no capacity.
    They will not be able to change. It's okay to decide who you want to hold onto in your life. It helps to know that there are people out there who will try and understand, even just a little. I value the small efforts.
    One of my friends hasn't contacted me for a month, since I got out of my inpatient stay. It's very interesting. She didn't really understand or try to understand about what I was going through, and unpredictably, she disappeared pretty quickly. Some say it's a gift through these difficult times, to learn who is a real friend. I value this lesson and don't mind if I have to cut out a few fairweather friends.
  11. white knight
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    5 April 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy,

    you show so much courage.

    Many of us with disorders have a lack of protective measures that come naturally without the disorders. We can also have immaturity for our age and out of control emotions and moods.

    This lack of self protection I highlighted in the following thread

    beyondblue topic fortress of survival (also part 2)

    Id be interested in your thoughts Sleepy.

    TonyWK

  12. white knight
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    17 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    I had a friend for 18 years. We were that close we called each other “bro”. It has all come to an end.

    My now ex friend slowly became an alcoholic and so religious that it became intolerable for this atheist. He’d ring at 11am drunk and incoherent. I’d drive the 80km to his place and listen to his ramblings, because I loved him.

    But alas, he wasn’t listening to me, he wasn’t taking into account my last relationship included an alcoholic partner and he was causing lots of stress.

    Sometimes you have to believe that “birds of a feather stick together “ and seeking help to confide in same.

    Its ok to figure out why friends and family don’t want to talk about our challenges after all... that gives us free reign to limit our own interests in theirs.

    One way streets don’t work

    TonyWK

  13. Sleepy21
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    17 May 2020

    Hi Tony,

    I have been working through similar things in therapy recently.
    I have a friend who has never shown any interest in me, really. My therapist really helped me realise I wasn't mean to acknowledge that, and to not like it.
    I remember when I moved into my new home she came to visit. I had just purchased a few new furniture items and said - see I got this cool stuff - and she wouldn't get up and look at it. She wouldn't even move her eyes in that direction. I'm realising now, she was completely not interested. I had just got out of hospital for being suicidal... she didn't care. She told me I shouldn't go to hospital and probably just needed a hopsital. She also said I looked fine, healthy, from the outside, making me feel like I was making it up. In the weeks after I came back from hospital she never contacted me again...

    It is beautiful to be there for a friend, hold their hands through weak times etc, but it is not selfish to consider if maybe they are using you or would have no interest in doing the same.
    I find it hard sometimes to criticise people and identify that they aren't treating me right, I always assume that I'm the flawed one.

    If something feels wrong in a friendship, it probably is wrong.

  14. white knight
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    17 May 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    So true sleepy

    have you got guilty thoughts?

    sometimes even though it’s justified, I feel guilty breaking off the friendship.

    maybe your friend was jealous?

    TonyWK

  15. Sleepy21
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    17 May 2020

    Hi Tony,

    I do feel guilty, yes. It feels like I am maybe the bad friend for not liking the way she treats me.
    I could see her potentially being jealous.

    I'm not sure that the guilt is helpful - I remember on that day with the furniture i didn't understand why she was being so disinterested (like didn't want a tour of the place, didn't ask any questions etc...) and I would've made excuses or thought I was imagining things.

    Now I just think that was unkind, and I also think she was using me as someone to go out with, as I used to (before I became ill and suicidal) enjoy going out a lot and she probably had not many others who would go with her).

    It feels weird to be so critical of her, like i'm being nasty. But it's reality sometimes that people are not well-intentioned

  16. white knight
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    17 May 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy

    Im 64yo. As a young man I was naive and trusted too many people, this was regardless of working in a major prison as a warder.

    So these characteristics can be part of our nature and our nature we cannot change in the short term at least.

    google

    beyondblue topic the frog and the scorpion

    A friend once told me “when you can’t work out peoples behaviour- think jealousy”

    My guess is your friend was jealous.

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival

    Beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor

    TonyWK

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  17. Sleepy21
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    30 May 2020

    Hi Tony

    Thanks i will try and check out those links

    I also would trust people too much for many years.

    I believe my friend was also using me for social "fun" as she was keen to meet me once weekly and go out somewhere new each time> i enjoyed socialising and was happy to have a regular friend.
    In my head, I felt somehow that she was showing her friendship by hanging out with me regularly. Really she loved going out and it was more about going to new places and her self.

    I think she probably was jealous which is a hard pill to swallow, because while I was excited to have a new place to show her, I had just come out of hospital after being suicidal. The "stuff" i was showing off had been donated by the salvation army to help me so I could settle home after being unwell.

    It does take a while to learn to really see people as they are, and not ignore the messages they send you.

    Like they say - when someone shows you who they are - believe them

    ie - don't make excuses for bad behaviour - note it - and either demand better, or walk away

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  18. ecomama
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    31 May 2020 in reply to Maureen

    Maureen said:I've been very lucky in that my close friends and family have all been very supportive and are very understanding. Mind you, the family is now starting to push for me to get back to work. It's been over a year. I'm 55 and they're worried ill never go back.

    Hi Maureen

    Your "work" is what you're doing now.

    EM

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  19. ecomama
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    31 May 2020 in reply to white knight
    white knight said:

    Hi vox

    Great reply, so true.

    As long as they make effort. Very apt.

    I just severed a friendship. This guy I've known 10 uears had a mother and two brothers take their own lives. Yet because he believed he couldnt understand them, he took the view that there is no point trying to understand me. Hence no effort.

    Hence no friendship. And thats the thing with us mentally challenged, if there is no effort to take interest at all in our struggles then thete is no middle ground IMO.

    I have more important people to give to.

    Tony WK

    Indeed TonyWK

    I call this the "bushfire" event. I strongly believe that when we have an 'event' whether it be a divorce, loss of job etc, experience MH issues etc etc etc (there are so many 'events' in life) then it's healthy for us to TAKE STOCK of what detracts from us and what gives to us which can be sustaining and healing.

    Simply spoken - GOOD friends are there for us. WE are there for them too. When we CAN'T be there for them, they totally understand! These are the people there in the 'new landscape' after a bushfire who regenerate WITH us in new understandings, compassion, love, empathy and synergistically provide HOPE for each other. Just as the landscape does after a bushfire. IT IS NOT THE SAME. ALOT was lost and we can never go back to the way it was.
    But we CAN and must observe what is 'here now'. Appreciate it all for surviving! Love every aspect of our new landscape as hard as it is to cope with the sometimes devastation. But KNOW there is a future and accept what's been lost.

    Others are not like this. End of.

    Discerning who IS and who is NOT helpful to us during this time is a very surprising journey some times.

    EM

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  20. Sleepy21
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    31 May 2020

    so true em

    My life will never be the same after my hospital stay

    to see friends pretend it was'nt really happening and not even be able to acknowledge i was in hospital, really shook me to my core

    but again , i dont blame them, i blame myself. blame me for choosing such idiotic friends. blame me for not knowing earlier that they were fake.

    It still hurts and i struggle to see people who left me when i was in hospital

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  21. white knight
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    31 May 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi EM

    thanks for your posts- they make sense

    Sleepy- what you have is self evaluation, not many humans have it.

    eg. I had an 11 year marriage, 2 kids, wife was a narcissist using silence as a weapon. When I divorced her I blamed her for it all. Picking up the kids one day she made a remark “you worked too many hours- that’s why our marriage failed.”

    Funny that because she chose to be the homemaker-stay at home mum. To do that, I had to work long hours shift work.

    As I drove off with my kids for that weekend, I realised my error with my marriage...in marrying her in the first place. I made myself accountable for my error and moved on. Happily married now to my ex’s ex sister in law that I matchmade to my BIL .

    Anyway back to you, yes we make errors in making friends that should not be on our radar in the first place.

    TonyWK

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  22. Sleepy21
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    31 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    Hi Em, thank you for your caring comments

    I relate to what you wrote and discerning between safe and not safe, good and bad, caring and harmful, is part of living well.

    Hi Tony, thank you for sharing your story. It's great that you learnt from the negatives in your marriage and moved on. Many people say their second marriages are much happier. (from someone here who has been married zero times).

    I think we all make these mistakes. It's also i wasn't so well at the time, so can be more drawn to people for the wrong reasons. I liked friends who had time and liked to hang out and socialise because it would distract from my problems.

    Now I want genuine people around. You learn that through crises, see who is really there.

    Glad it worked out for you in the end

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  23. ecomama
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    31 May 2020 in reply to Sleepy21
    Sleepy21 said:

    so true em

    My life will never be the same after my hospital stay

    to see friends pretend it was'nt really happening and not even be able to acknowledge i was in hospital, really shook me to my core

    but again , i dont blame them, i blame myself. blame me for choosing such idiotic friends. blame me for not knowing earlier that they were fake.

    It still hurts and i struggle to see people who left me when i was in hospital

    Hi Sleepy21

    I really think you need to forgive yourself for your choice of friends, ESPECIALLY when you're young.
    They're probably not bad people at all! Though I am not belittling your experiences at all. It sounds like you have feelings of abandonment and possibly betrayal by these friends?

    Maybe they're not "that deep".
    Maybe they were scared.
    Maybe they didn't think it was "serious" at all.
    Maybe they were young and immature thinking you'd just "get fixed" and merrily be along again any minute. Maybe we could do our heads in circular thinking about what goes through other people's minds lol ;-)

    That was a little exercise to see how we can get on spinning our heads about other people's minds and to NO avail.

    Ask them if you feel comfortable. If you don't, then there's a sign right there.

    But "Horses for Courses" - we're all different.

    It's so important to do our own introspection to a point and stop before we send ourselves crazy lol. But to reflect on our own words, actions, events is a very important thing for our own healing & self development.

    I'm quite confident in the path of doing what you love doing. These are the places you're more likely to find other people who are more like you and at least, they like doing the thing - kayaking or whatever it may be.

    But NO ONE is identically like us. Over time (and maybe already) you'll come to appreciate and even love how diverse others are. We can learn so much from our differences.

    No matter where you are, you're good, great even. "Bloom where you're planted" was what was in our bathroom as a child. When we begin to accept where we are, love ourselves right here and now...…. THIS is when beautiful opportunities come - well that's what I've observed anyway.

    Waddayathink? lol

    Love EM

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  24. white knight
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    31 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Yes EM, we here often say “be gentle in yourself” in essence forgiving yourself is part of that process.

    TonyWK

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  25. Sleepy21
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    31 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi EM

    Thanks for your awesome post

    I do have feelings of abandonment related to one friend in particular.
    We were in touch regularly but when I went to hospital she couldn't support me.
    Occasionally know she sends me long emails about herself....it makes me feel really frustrated. My mother used to do the same - she relied on me to listen to every detail about her day and never asked me one thing.

    I think you're right about self-care, self-love and doing what you enjoy, with the good things following after. Thanks for sharing that.

    I don't think anyone is a bad person but I feel like I was a little bit of an easy target for bad people for a while, and i'm just recovering from this. Thank you for reminding me to go easy. I hope you're doing well too, and finding these hectic times managable

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  26. ecomama
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    6 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy21

    I really get why you felt abandoned by your close friend and your mum. It's a horrible realization. Dare I say SNAP? I won't go into the stories of mine that match but I have gone NC with both a long time ago.

    I think sometimes others may see us as the ones to help THEM.
    The one who listens to THEM.
    All being a one way street.

    It was bad that at your time of deepest need, they just weren't 'there' for you.
    I'm so sorry this happened. Big hugs.

    IME this realization can shake us to the core. I've had paradigm shifts immediately after.

    It's what you do next that is important and for ONCE the decision needs to have YOU as the centre.

    From what I've seen, many people don't cut ties with narcissistic parents until their 30s or 40s. Being optimistic that things will change when....(this happens) or after …… (that happens).
    They don't change, they can't.

    It doesn't mean we CAN'T have a relationship with people like this, but I'm too old lol, I would never bother again. These relationships ALL end in the same way.

    Narcs need empaths. An empath will spend SO MUCH time trying to work out the narc and how to make the relationship more pleasant, more equitable, different.
    The narc is only interested in 'supply'.

    I cut the supply off now before the extremely damaging 'narcissistic discard' phase. I don't think I have any narcs left now lol (except for a couple at work whom I can avoid most times). I exited from the last known one about a year ago.

    Just remember that others are not mind readers, we do have to ask for help or communicate, if we feel safe enough to do so.

    When we let these people "go" - even without NC but just to have zero expectations of ANYTHING from them - then we make room for the people who we DO want to have in our life. There may be an Autumn / Winter time in our lives before we see who these people are and / or even branch out further to our interest bases. But it happens and when it does, it's beautiful.

    Lots of love EM

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  27. Sleepy21
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    7 June 2020

    Hey EM

    Sounds like you've sort of deflated the narcissists which is really the goal - you want the just get away from them and live and love your life

    This is amazing and your points are all fire.... I'm in agreement with what you're saying and it is kind of a process.

    Like we don't want these people in our lives - so it's not aa huge tragedy to let them go, it actually feels, in a weird way,, good

    I have some better friends now so I think that's made me empowered to not take the "break-ups" so hard

    I'm not sitting here thinking its my fault tht the friendshps didn't work, because I have evidence that I've got other healthy friendships. so i'm able to say a bit more fairly - "that person, for me, just wasn't good news," end of story.

    These people, from my experience, tend to have a litany of amazing excuses. I'm so so tired of these excuses, none of them are good enough.

    My Mum is wounded herself and I think she looks to me as someone who'se job it is to make her feel good about herself. I've been shocked before to hear how annoyed she is that I haven't been a better "friend" to her. She feels I owe her everything, and she owes me nothing.

    I'm currently NC with her and trying to end this frustrating friendship.
    The friend kind of revealed to me how she sees herself as a very good friend and has no regrets about the hopsital thing, so, end of story on my part. But yes of course it hurts.

    We're only human and we don't like conflict. I'm struggling still sometimes to understand these narcissists and how they seem to have different standards and values and never waver from them.

    Hope to get to the same point as you where I'm just too tired of their dramas. xx

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  28. josh1245
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    7 June 2020
    hi all I feel like in society mental illness still has a massive stigma people that have never experienced mental illness sometimes lack the understanding, the care or the empathy to try to comprehend what the person is dealing with. in my experience I developed mental illness when I was in my early adolescence and I had no clue what I was feeling I became overwhelmed with all these emotions that I didn't understand and no one educated me on what these feelings were that their normal that its okay not to be okay etc. my parents certainly didn't understand it and I felt judged. I just wanted to state my experience for everyone in the beyondblue community and point out that mental illness is still has a massive stigma and I wish some form of education program was targeted at schools to educate teachers, parents and students about mental illness so they form an understanding of it.
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  29. white knight
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    9207 posts
    7 June 2020 in reply to josh1245

    Good point Josh, more education.

    There too much ignorance out there.

    TonyWK

    2 people found this helpful
  30. ecomama
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    ecomama avatar
    4561 posts
    7 June 2020 in reply to white knight

    Trust me guys the education IS in schools. Whole programs from BB and Headspace and Black Dog and more....

    The children going through this NEW World of education are so young, they're coming, but they're young and LOOK around you to see what kind of world they are seeing.... it's a MESS. What they see now is negatively affecting them.

    Our youth have a DARNED lot of cleaning up to do, left by the messes of previous generations - I hold hope that these generations "did their best" but I've seen too much evidence of the contrary TBH.

    "Education" is only as effective as the delivery and uptake by each individual. There is SO MUCH out there for people to search and find to help others..... it's that they can't bother is more precise.

    So as difficult and as impossible it can seem to be for a person experiencing MI to cut ties or go low or NC with damaging people, it's essential to their future wellbeing.

    The people who WANT to be there for you, who truly CARE for you and show you their love by their willingness to try to understand will stand out. It may take time but they appear out of the fog and soon it all becomes far clearer.

    Ofcourse the major issue when going through the very rough path of seeking help, getting diagnoses and treatment, is that we need the most support THEN and afterwards. We've usually relied on these not so helpful / damaging people who have usually contributed to us becoming MI. We can end up far more damaged by our reliance on them and continued negative experiences with them.
    You can be stuck between a rock and a hard place in these times.

    Even with a clear path and effective treatment, living with MI is difficult.

    That's why the BB forums are so important. A place where people understand through their experiences, there's no better way to gain empathy for someone than to have gone through what they've gone through. It doesn't mean others can't try to understand. This is the CONNECTION we crave. It's 1 piece of a jigsaw puzzle of support a person needs.

    EM

    2 people found this helpful

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