WELLNESS
09/30/2015 01:49 pm ET

The Worst Things You Can Say To Someone With Mental Illness

"Just smile!" 😑

As if dealing with mental illness wasn't enough, some people also have to endure probing questions and unsolicited advice from others who don't understand the condition. And that can hurt more than anyone even realizes.

As someone who deals with depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, Rachel Griffin is all too familiar with these insensitive interactions. The New York University graduate student made a video about all of the ridiculous things she's heard from other people about mental illness. The phrases range from confusing to downright frustrating.

The worst thing someone ever said to her came from a friend: "'After you told me you have depression I had a dream you were chasing me with an ax,'" Griffin recalled her friend telling her. "I was so hurt because I am such a gentle, compassionate person. I don't even kill bugs!"

While the video is meant to offer a humorous take, it also perfectly highlights the isolating social struggle so many people with mental illness face on a daily basis. Approximately one in four people will experience some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization.

"I felt really vulnerable admitting that I've struggled with these conditions but it is worth it to me if I can help someone feel less alone and ashamed," Griffin said. "I think shame is toxic to the human spirit and I realized one way of breaking free from it is to speak out. I'm so exhausted of dealing with the stigma and seeing how it causes wonderful people to feel like they need to hide or not get care."

Take a look at Griffin's video above to hear some of the things people say to someone with mental illness. Some of the interactions may sound ridiculous, but for someone with mental illness, they may be an unfortunate reality. 


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