Cartoon: treating mental health the same as we do physical health

Sometimes cartoons get the point across better than words. Related to this blog

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I’ve recently cut ties off with a ‘friend’ who seemed to be using me as her pet social project – it got quite tiresome dealing with her “helpful advice” that was anything but helpful.

Before you give someone with a disability any advice, especially “helpful” advice to a person with an invisible disability, consider:

  • is it accurate, or did you just read it on the internet somewhere?
  • correlation is not causation, and anecdotes are not substitutes for clinical trials. Just because X thing worked well for a person you know, doesn’t mean it’s some wonder cure for all people with that ailment.
  • is it something that a person living with this condition is likely to be aware of themselves, or is it new research that is cutting edge and not well known?
  • are you saying something that is actually helpful or are you just talking for the sake of hearing your own voice?
  • have you tried to empathise with the person you are about to bombard with “helpful advice” – not just sympathise but empathise?

Empathy is not sympathy, and to be frank, sympathy without empathy is really annoying –  it’s patronising, it’s all “I know all the things, let me tell you all the things without stopping for a moment to consider whether you might already know all these things or have other barriers in the way to prevent you from doing these things.”

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