When is it too personal ? #MyMindMyStory

Whenever you come across someone who you know has a mental illness, it’s only natural to feel inquisitive and want to ask questions.
Perhaps you want to understand the illness better or perhaps you want to make sure they’re ok?

Whatever the reason is, a question or two is bound to pop into your head.
Today I want to talk about when it’s ok to ask and when it’s better to leave well enough alone.

It depends on the person but I’ve usually found that one or two general questions don’t bother me in the slightest; but saying that, I’m pretty open when it comes to my mental problems and not everyone is the same.

Some people become very defensive if you bring up their mental health and that’s understandable too -it can be a very sensitive, sometimes upsetting subject. On the whole I think it’s better if you know the person because nobody would like a stranger coming up to them and asking them “What’s wrong with you?

If you do know them, and maybe you’ve heard them talk about their problems before and they seemed pretty open about it, maybe ask a question or two but keep it open and not too personal.

What’s your illness called?”, orWhen did you get ill?

These are pretty standard and won’t upset many people. If they answer these happily or give rather extensive answers maybe it means they actually enjoy talking about their illness or they may even find it liberating to get things off their chest.

Go slow, don’t go straight for the really tough questions that may trigger bad memories such as Did you try to kill yourself? That’s never a fan favourite!

Go layer by layer; think about it like a cake: If you eat it bit by bit, it’ll last longer and you’ll enjoy it more than if you just put it all in your mouth at once and choke.

In conclusion, questions are okay if you know the person and keep it simple. Questions help people to understand mental illness better which can actually prevent the hard, triggering questions that nobody wants to answer.

Always remember when asking a question, ask it as a friend, not a psychiatrist. ;)
By Amy Denton

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