I know I've said things to my daughter about her anxiety that were immensely unhelpful.

And though I've apologized, I cringe thinking about how many more times she's going to have to hear unintentionally hurtful things about her mental health struggles.

Those of us who don't deal with mental health issues can sometimes stick our collective foot in our mouth. Big time.


It's only through years of talking about my daughter's experiences and observing it firsthand that I've learned how little I understood about mental illness. I've seen how well-meaning comments can totally miss the mark and how alienating such comments can be for those on the receiving end.

Lifestyle reporter Hattie Gladwell created a hashtag — #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness — to highlight some of the ridiculous things people say to those struggling with mental health issues.

Gladwell posted a tweet asking people to share the most unhelpful or insensitive thing people have said about their mental illness, starting with her own example:

1. "One person told me I didn't need medication, I just needed to be more motivated."

The responses are incredibly telling of just how many misconceptions there are about mental illness.

2. "You don't look like you're mentally ill."

[rebelmouse-image 19532950 dam="1" original_size="602x219" caption="Image via That Girl With BPD/Twitter." expand=1]Image via That Girl With BPD/Twitter.

Because you can see inside someone's mind with your eyeballs? What?

3. "When you have a job and a family, all these thoughts will disappear."

[rebelmouse-image 19532951 dam="1" original_size="575x240" caption="Image via Elle/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Elle/Twitter.

I am 100% certain that adding a job and a family on top of mental health issues is not a cure. For real.

4. "You have too much money to have anything wrong with you."

[rebelmouse-image 19532952 dam="1" original_size="599x189" caption="Image via Alice/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Alice/Twitter.

Mental illness crosses all economic lines. You can't necessarily buy your way out of it.

5. "There is nothing wrong with you."

[rebelmouse-image 19532953 dam="1" original_size="597x214" caption="Image via Chazie/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Chazie/Twitter.

First, do you tell people with a missing limb that they're faking it and trying to get attention?

And second, depression isn't a contagious disease. For the love of...

6. "Weren't you taking meds?"

[rebelmouse-image 19532954 dam="1" original_size="601x332" caption="Image via Anne Greif/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Anne Greif/Twitter.

When it comes to medication and mental illness, you can't win for losing. People will tell you that you don't need meds. Then they'll tell you that you do need them. Then they'll question why you haven't miraculously been cured by them already.

People need to understand that medication is a management tool, not a cure-all, and that finding the right medication is like solving a complex puzzle with lots of moving parts. (Not to mention the struggle of finding the right therapist.)

7. "Have you tried praying away your depression?"

Image via Alisa/Twitter​.

We don't tell people to pray away diabetes or heart disease or a broken bone. It makes just as little sense to tell someone to pray away their mental illness.

8. "So you're just superstitious?"

Image via Lydia/Twitter​​.

It's natural for people to try to relate with things they can understand, but making reaches such as these is just silly.

All of us have felt nervous, but that doesn't mean we truly understand clinical anxiety. All of us have felt down, but that doesn't mean we understand clinical depression.

9. "Have you ever thought about how there are people who have it much worse than you do?"

Image via Mika/Twitter​.

Mental illness is not a product of selfishness. We can acknowledge and empathize with others while also going through our own stuff at the same time.

10. "It's attention seeking."

Image via Juliette Burton/Twitter​.

A cornucopia of insensitivity!

But seriously, "I wish I was anorexic"? No, you really, really, really don't.

11. "Positive thinking is the key to battling depression."

(sigh) ... Sometimes truly all you can do is respond with sarcasm: #LiterallyNeverOccurredToMe.

The responses to this hashtag hold an important message: We all need to better our understanding of what people with mental health issues have to deal with all the time.

I'm not an innocent party here. I know I've said things that were unhelpful, and though it was always from a place of caring and concern, that intent didn't trump the impact of my words.

It's hard to understand something you've never experienced. And we need to acknowledge the fact that people with mental illnesses are experiencing something those of us without mental illnesses can't completely relate to.

But that doesn't mean we can't do our best to find out what actually is helpful to say.

Often times, a simple, empathetic, "I'm sorry you're going through this" or "Is there anything I can do to help?" — or simply listening without saying anything — is the best thing we can do.

Stigma hurts.

But if we all take time to learn about mental illnesses we don't understand and strive to help those who are struggling to feel supported and loved without judgment or shame, the world will be a kinder place.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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