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Melancholya

Why are people so shitty at helping

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I get that not everyone understands what it's like having mental illness. That's not a problem. But there is SO much talk of mental illness these days - on social media, in the news... Calls to improve mental health services, lower the suicide rate, ask your mates if they're OK, look out for each other, speak up if you're struggling etc. But when you actually do speak up about it you get mostly ignored. 

If I tell friends or family that I'm not doing well, they'll just say something like "that sucks, I hope you feel better soon". Just once I wish someone would say "can I cook you a meal?" or "can I clean your house a bit?" or "want me to look after your daughter for an hour so you can have a break?". I don't want my friends and family to know what to say or have a magical fix for me. I just want them to offer to help in a practical way. 

Once I got so low that I actually asked for help on Facebook, I was going through bad PND when my daughter was a baby, and I asked if anyone could drop off a meal. A guy who was only an acquaintance cooked like 6 dinners for us and dropped them off. I was immensely grateful, it was awesome. Meanwhile, my parents, sister and closest friends sent me well wishes and did nothing. 

My mother comments on / likes anything I post about cats, but if I say a single thing about depression or anxiety she is absolutely silent. 

I just feel so let down by the majority of people in my life. I hardly even tell my friends or family when I need help now. And then I see more posts on social media about how people need to reach out when they're struggling. How about the healthy people try reaching in for fucking once? 

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I don't know. They might have their own problems, maybe they're not as healthy as we think they are, or maybe they're lazy, or not getting the idea? I never felt like that. I try not to bother my family with my problems because I think that they have enough of their own. My dad wanted to help clean up, so I yelled at him and kicked him out. My mom cooked food and I sent her back. So I guess everyone is different.

Edited by onsenseal

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53 minutes ago, onsenseal said:

My dad wanted to help clean up, so I yelled at him and kicked him out. My mom cooked food and I sent her back.

You are so fortunate to have parents who want to help instead of ignoring you. 

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25 minutes ago, Melancholya said:

You are so fortunate to have parents who want to help instead of ignoring you. 

I wish they weren't like this. There are few things worse than watching a loved one trying to help but being unable to. I have to hide most of my problems, because if my mom figured out the mental health history, I'd be afraid she would do something to herself. If they didn't care, my life would be so much easier.

Edited by onsenseal

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17 minutes ago, onsenseal said:

I wish they weren't like this. There are few things worse than watching a loved one trying to help but being unable to. I have to hide most of my problems, because if my mom figured out the mental health history, I'd be afraid she would do something to herself. If they didn't care, my life would be so much easier.

But it sounds like they are unable to because you won't let them? Why not just let someone help a little? You don't have to tell them your mental health history. There are few things worse than trying to help someone you love and they won't let you. 

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@Melancholya  I completely get this. People post "please donate to Suicide Prevention" awareness stuff, yet if I were to post anything on my general FB feed about having suicidal ideations, needing a friend to talk to...I'd just get heart emojis. NO ONE would privately email me (on FB). Maybe they don't know what to say? No wonder people commit suicide, they are alienated or shamed when they courageously reach out.

I've had awful comments "oh, everybody's depressed, no need to be a drama queen" or people ghost you because they probably think you're completely nuts. I know it's pointless to even go into all the things I've tried. I hate even hearing myself talk about it. So I isolate and hide it.

I don't want pity, sympathy or to burden people. I simply want to feel I'm not alone and broken. FB is just about showing how amazing, positive and happy you are...nobody wants to hear anything negative or be brought down by "toxic energy"

Physical illnesses like Cancer - enormous outpouring of support, a simple surgery...or pregnancy. Pregnancy is not even an ILLNESS. People choose to get pregnant, as long as we've existed, why is it seen as a disability and supported as such an achievement? 700 likes because you popped out a baby. Sorry to go on a tangent, but it just triggers me that people get so much positive attention & support for marriage and pregnancy (i.e. only positive things)

Edited by Blahblah
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1 hour ago, Blahblah said:

Physical illnesses like Cancer - enormous outpouring of support, a simple surgery...or pregnancy. Pregnancy is not even an ILLNESS. People choose to get pregnant, as long as we've existed, why is it seen as a disability and supported as such an achievement? 700 likes because you popped out a baby. Sorry to go on a tangent, but it just triggers me that people get so much positive attention & support for marriage and pregnancy (i.e. only positive things)

Only if you have a healthy baby. I had a baby with medical problems and didn’t get a whole lot of likes. In fact one relative told me one of the pictures I shared on Facebook was inappropriate (just because of medical stuff, it’s not like anyone was naked).

 I have supportive parents who also have MI, so they know what it’s like. But I agree that social media is extremely hypocritical with all the “reach out!” nonsense and then nobody responds when you do. Or they just report your post to Facebook (happened to someone I know). I don’t share stuff about my mental state on social media, but sometimes I’ll post an article or something about MI and the only person who “likes” it is my mom.

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Tell them what you want/need. Normal people have no reference point for how they can help with your mental illness. Examples are not on TV so they are lost. So say "look I am very depressed right now and it would really help me if someone would make me a meai."

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My mother has an eating disorder and MDD, and she’s worse than useless when it comes to helping with my mental health. It doesn’t matter where I am mentally; it’s always my job to cheer her up.

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A very bitter irony is that the people most able to help and relate are usually too drained from trying to cope with themselves. I've had to step back from people in a bad place because two crises don't tend to make things better for anyone. 

I think the reason people as a collective are good at certain acts of helpfulness is because they have better social scripts for it. During a family members cancer, we had a whole food rota with random people making sure we all had dinner. But at the same time, those people couldn't really help us process it because they genuinely didn't know what to say. Can't speak to it if you don't relate. Mind you, when mostly strangers did try to connect with me about it, I wanted nothing to do with it, but that might be me.

I might sound like a real sh*tbag for this, but if a forum isn't giving you what you need emotionally, it might be better to either be very direct and give concrete instructions, or if people still fail to get the message, not use that forum for that emotional need. I go to my parents for different things than my friends, and vice versa, because they give me different things emotionally. I don't think I'm being very articulate here- it does royally suck that important people in your life just don't seem to get it. The guy who made you those dinners sounds like a nice guy though. Maybe your family need a come to Jesus moment?

I could go on a whole rant about how mental illness is treated and that the well intentioned and hopefully net-good messages of speaking up are not necessarily the same as a good social system, but that might be for another thread. It's good we're getting to a place of openness but from what I've experienced it's now lead to a lot of people just stuck having exposed a big vulnerability with no real safety net for how to deal with it. 

EDIT: I think I conflated facebook (a forum) with family, which was stupid. Point is, if facebook isn't working, does calling or F2F help?

Edited by ananke
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2 hours ago, notloki said:

Tell them what you want/need. Normal people have no reference point for how they can help with your mental illness. Examples are not on TV so they are lost. So say "look I am very depressed right now and it would really help me if someone would make me a meai."

Agree totally. Just saying “I’m depressed” might sound overwhelming to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Maybe they can’t even fathom what they could do, but if you give a concrete thing, that might be more doable. I know that in a general sense, if I hear “please help”, I start cringing, but if it’s a request for a specific thing, if I can do it, I’ll do it. 

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8 hours ago, Juniper29 said:

I had a baby with medical problems and didn’t get a whole lot of likes. In fact one relative told me one of the pictures I shared on Facebook was inappropriate (just because of medical stuff, it’s not like anyone was naked).

Omg that sucks. And what an insensitive thing for your relative to say. People whose children have medical problems need help the most :(

3 hours ago, notloki said:

Tell them what you want/need. Normal people have no reference point for how they can help with your mental illness. Examples are not on TV so they are lost. So say "look I am very depressed right now and it would really help me if someone would make me a meai."

Good point. At my worst I find it very very hard to ask for help. I have actually tried before, I asked my mum if she could make some meals when I was about to give birth and she just said" you won't need anything like that". 

3 hours ago, Gearhead said:

My mother has an eating disorder and MDD, and she’s worse than useless when it comes to helping with my mental health. It doesn’t matter where I am mentally; it’s always my job to cheer her up.

That's incredibly hard. My sister is a bit like that. It's draining and feels so tiresome when the help is not reciprocal. 

In my original post I wasn't referring to people struggling with their own serious MI who of course do not have the capacity to help. I was meaning those who are healthy and fine. You could argue that people probably have their own problems in secret which is true, but I know for a fact that some of my family members could help because I see them helping out others in the family, but overlook me even when I tell them I am not well. 

1 hour ago, ananke said:

A very bitter irony is that the people most able to help and relate are usually too drained from trying to cope with themselves. I've had to step back from people in a bad place because two crises don't tend to make things better for anyone. 

Yeah, I wasn't referring to those people. I have friends who I know have MI struggles of their own and I never ever ask them for help. 

1 hour ago, ananke said:

I might sound like a real sh*tbag for this, but if a forum isn't giving you what you need emotionally, it might be better to either be very direct and give concrete instructions, or if people still fail to get the message, not use that forum for that emotional need.

I don't actually use fb for emotional needs most of the time and if I do I lock it down to only close people, so it's really disappointing when my family ignore it. Honestly I've tried talking face to face with my parents and they don't get it. My mother would rather die than talk about emotional problems. I guess that's why she drowns herself in alcohol every weekend. I know I should just accept that my family are useless. And often I do, but sometimes when I'm really desperately depressed I just wish someone was looking out for me. 

45 minutes ago, Rabbit37 said:

I know that in a general sense, if I hear “please help”, I start cringing, but if it’s a request for a specific thing, if I can do it, I’ll do it. 

I guess the conundrum is that I want people to help of their own choosing, I don't want to ask in case they feel pressured or don't want to do the thing. At my worst I am thinking, I need help, but I am such a burden. 

I'm probably just being a bitch about the whole thing. Kinda wishing I hadn't posted this topic. 

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14 hours ago, notloki said:

Tell them what you want/need. Normal people have no reference point for how they can help with your mental illness. Examples are not on TV so they are lost. So say "look I am very depressed right now and it would really help me if someone would make me a meai."

True, not everyone is direct about what they need. In my case, I'm pretty clear. I don't burden, so I'll initiate an email, a "how are you" or "I was at such&such, and was thinking about you..." I would often write "Would love to keep in better touch, or hear from you more often" and people I know don't reciprocate. Probably a sign I need new friends, but at my age it's been impossible.

Old friends (estranged due to distance) I've tried frequently to keep in touch and I often get a sentence in response. I try & try again and I'm left with the sense that I'm bothering them. This is to a simple email above. I posted twice on FB in past about feeling down/depressed or just needing to talk/pm me (don't want to sound desperate), and it's just the FB heart emojis (I ended up deleting those posts out of embarrassment)

I'm well aware that Facebook is not the forum to gain emotional support - but we're talking simple contact, a few emails now and then from people that I used to spend A LOT of time with, people who know me. This is tough to process. I feel forgotten and invisible, no one cares...I'm not asking for a meal, or visit, or a therapist (I've had plenty), just for someone that knows me to keep in touch. I guess people are too busy? Consumed? Why can't they just say that???  Maybe a sub-topic but, how to you maintain a good friendship that has become estranged?

[Edit] Just want to add I really appreciate the people here that have messaged me and take time to reply to my posts/blogs, this isn't directed at you, it's my existing network of friends, some I've known since childhood.

Edited by Blahblah
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On 8/27/2019 at 9:37 AM, Blahblah said:

 FB is just about showing how amazing, positive and happy you are...nobody wants to hear anything negative or be brought down by "toxic energy"

This is the main reason I stay off FB.......Even my sister, who has no MI, calls it "FakeBook".

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23 hours ago, Melancholya said:

And often I do, but sometimes when I'm really desperately depressed I just wish someone was looking out for me. 

Indeed, and when you get radio silence it doesn't help. I do understand the desire for people to intuitively pick up on your bad vibes. If literally any of my teachers had intervened at various points as a child I'd be in a better place for sure. Hope that your parents smell the coffee and start listening to what you need.

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On 8/27/2019 at 6:59 PM, ananke said:

I think the reason people as a collective are good at certain acts of helpfulness is because they have better social scripts for it.

I think this is very much a part of it. I think a number of people who would like to help feel pretty lost about how to actually do it. There are also people whose level of interest is high enough to share a mental health awareness post on social media but not much else. Those people suck. For the first group I think it could be really helpful to have some kind of checklist for all people involved. People who wanted to help could use it for ideas of things to offer and people who needed help could use it for ideas of specific things to request

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