Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Is It Good Advice?

Have you noticed that even the people who say they have no knowledge or experience of mental illness seem to give you advice? The people who know it all too well will give you advice. The doctor, counsellor or psychiatrist you see will advise you. There's advice forums, websites, leaflets, apps.... advice everywhere! But how do you know if it is good advice?.
  1. Who is giving the advice? Are they a professional or someone who understands what you are going through? Many people who have no idea about mental illness will have their say but you need to think about their relationship to you and their motive. A good friend may give you ill informed advice but be coming from a good place and trying to help whereas your boss may be giving you advice for the ulterior motive to get you back to work quicker because they are short staffed. You will soon realise the people who are trying their best to think of ways to support you and the people who give you a quick answer without care or thought.
  2. What are they saying? Think about what they have said and how you feel about it. Does it sound like a good idea? Does it sound helpful? Do you want to use that advice? Is it kind? Where did they get the advise from- experience, knowledge, hearsay?
  3. Why are they saying it? Are they trying to think of ideas to help you or have they lost their patience with you and suggested something for their sake? 
  4. Is it harmful? There is a big difference between someone suggesting you try to get some fresh air and someone suggesting you stop taking your medication. Always think whether taking the advice could harm your health and/or mental well-being in anyway. If you are unsure you can always consult your doctor.
Websites and forums...

Be particularly careful of information from strangers online. There are many official mental health sites you can use and many have a Twitter account BUT there are some that are not monitored and some that are very harmful. I was trolled on Twitter and feel if I had been in a more vulnerable place what they said could have really affected me deeply.

Most importantly...

Remember that if someone gives you advice (no matter who they are) it is up to you to decide whether you want to act on that advice or not. If it feels right and you're happy to do it then give it a go but if you doubt it then don't. You will know what is best for you. If you are not in the right frame of mind to decide what to do then find someone you can trust like a healthcare professional, partner, trusted friend or mental health professional to help you make decisions you are struggling with.

What would I tell myself?

Although people's advice may be coming from a kind place it's hard for someone else to tell you what you need to do. Even if they have been through the same mental illness it doesn't mean you are having the same experience and advice isn't one size fits all. So if I go through depression again it needs to be me that gives the advice. So I thought it might be best to write down my advice now and look at it whenever I might need to hear it again. I would tell me...
  • you've done it before you can do it again
  • this isn't the real/new you- we'll get you back
  • speak up about what you think and feel
  • there's no pressure to get better quickly
  • eat- even if it's just a snack and keep hydrated
  • get some fresh air
  • don't watch the news, anything scary or surreal
  • have a bath wrapped in a towel if you want to feel less vulnerable
  • don't try to guess what's coming next
  • you'll feel very ill and almost like you're bodies shutting down but it's your mind playing tricks
  • don't stare at the mirror it confuses and upsets you
  • take a break from social media
  • the side effects are temporary
  • sleep when you can
  • if you have dangerous thoughts tell someone quickly
  • say thank you to your husband and mum and tell them you love them
  • you are amazing
I just hope that I'll listen to me if needed!

Much love,
Becky xx


Steven Williams said...

I had a good friend give me some bad advice. I knew it was bad from the start. It made me very angry. I had to really think it through. I knew he was only trying to help and meant no harm by it. It was very difficult to work through it.

Becky said...

I found that the people who gave me bad advice that I found offensive made me see our relationship differently, especially pushy people.