What Not To Say To Someone Suffering With OCD, Anxiety & Depression And Why

When suffering with a mental illness it can sometimes feel very lonely as if no one understands what you’re going through. Added to that there’s still a slight stigma when it comes to mental health problems and a ton of misconceptions surrounding different mental illnesses. Being a sufferer of OCD, Anxiety and Depression there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing what suffering with one of these illnesses is like, then having people making jokes or comments regarding your mental illness, that are far from helpful or factual.

I thought for this blog post I’d share some of the worst things to say to someone suffering with OCD, Anxiety and Depression. I took to a OCD forum to ask for people’s examples to add to my own, of things they’ve had said to them and the comments came flooding in. A lot of the time due to misconceptions people don’t even realise what there saying is factually incorrect and offensive to a sufferer. Not only will this spread awareness on this subject, but I think a lot of people will relate to this and realise they’re not the only person who experience this. It’s not about treading on eggshells when it comes to someone suffering it’s about making sure that comment you don’t give a second thought is not only factually correct but helpful and not hurtful to someone.

‘You know it’s all in your head so just stop!!’

This is one that’s quite often said to OCD sufferers when struggling with OCD’s symptoms, such as when a sufferer is resisting to perform a certain compulsion, because they think something terrible will happen. No matter if you know what you’re experiencing is OCD or know it sounds silly, it’s not as simple as just stopping. People with OCD have vivid thoughts, questions, feelings and images followed by a great deal of fear and doubt. No one would ever suffer with mental illness if it was as simple as just stopping. Trust me if we could just stop, we would.

‘Oh you have OCD? I bet your house is tidy!!’

This is a very big misconception about OCD. Yes people with OCD can have really tidy houses, but many people with OCD have normal, untidy and disorganised houses. OCD is not just a cleaning disorder, there’s many symptoms and types.

‘But you’re so pretty/handsome and you have so much going for you and so much to live for, you shouldn’t be depressed!’

The thing is you don’t choose to be depressed, you can be the best looking, richest and most successful human being ever and depression can take a hold of you. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, being pretty or having so many great things going for you, doesn’t equal happiness unfortunately. Thanks to life events, lack of self-worth and brain chemistry, depression can grip anyone.

‘I think everyone has a little bit of OCD’

No, not everybody has a bit of OCD, OCD is a diagnosed disorder which you either have or don’t. People might be perfectionists, habitual or like to do things or have things in a certain way but this doesn’t mean someone has a little bit of OCD. Unless you have thoughts and feelings that make you feel the NEED to certain things to prevent something bad from happening, it’s probably not OCD.

 ‘I would never go on medication if I had depression, I’d just try to get better by myself’

Everyone is different and you may not need to go on medication and be able to recover from depression with counselling or therapy’s. A lot of people however medication helps a lot. Whether someone does or doesn’t take medication doesn’t make them any stronger or weaker, it also depends on the severity of the depression. If it helps you, then that’s all that matters. People are often afraid to admit they take medication in fear they will be seen as weak, comments like this reinforce this.

‘ Oh I know how you feel when it comes to feeling depressed, last week I was so depressed, I couldn’t stop crying about stuff’

Having a off week or a week where you feel down, low or cry a lot isn’t depression. If that mood persists for weeks and months, to the point your life is being significantly effected, that’s depression.

 ‘I’d love to be OCD then maybe I’d be more organised and my house would be tidy!’

 Trust me, you wouldn’t love OCD, it’s a serious debilitating illness that tears a lives apart. Again the cleaning misconception, there is more to OCD than cleaning. No one with OCD ever enjoys what they do or loves it.

Just get out more, have some fun, chill out then maybe you will feel better and less depressed’

 I know people say this to try be helpful but in all honestly it makes you feel worse. When your suffering with Depression you already don’t understand why you no longer feel like going out and having fun.  Asking yourself questions such as ‘what’s wrong with me?’ or ‘why am i like this?’ Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just getting out more, you feel like you mentally and physically can’t find the motivation to do the smallest things and having fun, no longer feels fun but an effort.

 ‘ All people who self harm are attention seekers’

 Many people who self harm live in silence and hide the fact that they do. It’s hard to understand, I get that. The thing is with self harm its a way of expressing what your feeling on the inside on the outside. There are many reasons people self harm and whether someone is doing it as a cry for help or doing it as a release and then hiding it, it should be taken seriously, the person is clearly in a lot of pain mentally, feels alone and needs help not judgement.

 ‘ You can’t just take days off work all the time, i couldn’t afford to do that!’ or ‘ You have to work, no one wants to but its something you have to do, so get a job’

The problem is when suffering with depression you literally feel as if you CANT find the energy or motivation to do the smallest things or the fun things in life, let alone go to work. If you have severe depression, needing money can’t change how you feel. A sufferer will already feel bad about not holding down a job, ashamed that they can’t and like they’re lazy or pathetic. Which is why saying these things wont help it simply confirms all the negative thoughts and feelings that person is having about themselves.

‘There is people a lot worse of than you and they still work and cope with life’

This sort of response when your suffering with a mental illness is really hard to hear. A lot of people suffering with mental illness already have very low self-worth and saying this sort of thing only makes it worse. They probably know there are people worse off, but it doesn’t make how they feel any less or better, it doesn’t make their problems go away. People  will already feel bad, ashamed and upset about how they feel, this is the last thing they wants to hear.

‘I just organised my DVDs in colour order, I’m so OCD’

Another classic comment when the word OCD is misused. Organising your DVDs in a certain order or whatever it may be, along with wanting to clean and do something a certain way, isn’t OCD. Unless the reason you done it was for things to ‘feel right’ or stop something bad from happening such as a thought coming true.

‘Just snap out of it’ or ‘You need a reality check’

You can tell someone with a mental illness to snap out of it or get a reality check as much as you like, because you care, want them to get better or want to shock them into getting better, but it won’t happen. You cannot snap out of a mental illness, if only you could! People with mental illness such as OCD, Depression and Anxiety are well aware that they’re lives are not like the average person. They are in touch with reality but have a mental illness preventing them to be exactly like the average person, they will be just as upset about it as you are.

I really could go on and on with examples and explanations as to why these comments can be annoying, unhelpful or are not factual. I hope this spreads awareness, and helps people who maybe didn’t understand or realise why it is so frustrating to hear these things be said over and over again.

What are you experiences with this subject?

Stay strong,


Medication Myths

A lot of people seem to think that if someone is or has taken medication for a mental illness like depression they are weak or mad and should have tried harder to fight it by themselves. I never thought I would have to take medication, but due to my depression and OCD I have been for a while now and honestly it doesn’t bother me. Its two tiny pills that help me every day what’s the big deal? Some people say they don’t want to rely on a medication or they want to fight it by themselves and not resort to taking tablets, which I think can make people like me who do take medication feel like we’re weak because we do.

 Just because you take medication now does not mean you have to rely on them, you can come off them when your ready, there not something you HAVE to take for the rest of your life. I think people think medication is addictive and that once you take it you will never be able to go without, which isn’t true medication can give you withdrawals if you stop them suddenly but so can a lot of other tablets, if you have a lot of caffeine stop having that in your diet and you will get withdrawals.  At the end the day everyone’s illnesses affect them differently and no person deals with something the same, if someone feels like they can deal with what they’re going through without medication then good for them but if you can’t then that doesn’t matter either, there are varying degrees of mental health and you know how bad you feel and how much your mental illness is interfering with your life!


People take medications for physical health problems all the time, you wouldn’t tell that person they should try to cope without medicine for there diabetes or whatever the illness may be. You would tell them if it helps you then take it, which should be the same for someone taking a medication for a mental illness. If someone has tried therapy and other means of help then why shouldn’t they take medication. I know when I was told to take medication I was relived something might finally help me or aid me to feel better. Sometimes its a last resort, you’ve been strong for too long and taking medication doesn’t make you weak it means you realise your limits and when you need help.



 Never feel weak for accepting offered and recommended help. You deserve it. Never let someone try to tell you that ‘they had depression and managed without medication’ everyone is different.

The Controversial Topic Of ‘Attention Seekers’


Its come to my attention (no pun intended) that some people have the view that anyone who self harms, makes a suicide threat or tries and fails to commit suicide is an attention seeker. I guess sometimes that can be the case and some people do these things because they want any attention. I don’t think that makes them a bad person, believe it or not there are reasons some people do these things in a non direct way of ‘attention seeking’  I don’t even like using that word to describe it.  It’s hard to understand unless you have been through it yourself. One thing I need to clear up is I am not saying everyone who does self harm or attempts suicide does it for attention, there are many reason why someone might self harm such as: self hate, a way of seeing the pain they feel inside on the outside, a release,  a coping mechanism or despair, there are so many reasons.

I am not saying that its okay and a good idea to do these things because you have a reason, I want people to realise sometimes people go to such lengths to show people how bad they really feel. If someone is doing it purely for attention then they must be lacking attention in an area of their life, so again I think saying their an attention seeker is a strong statement that’s of course in SOME cases, they are still struggling. Most people who self harm hide their scars, but eventually someone will see them and find out, or some times someone might want people to see them because of reasons I will be giving below but then when they do feel embarrassed and wish they hadn’t! Which I’m not going to deny I have experienced before, kind of wanting to tell or slyly show someone but being scared and then if it happens hating it and feeling stupid. Often its mixture of  a cry for help and one of the above reasons e.g release. Sometimes people are looking for someone to care.

I DO NOT condone someone showing off and promoting self harm, there’s a difference.


Sometimes when you feel so much pain on the inside, self harming is a way of showing the pain on the outside not necessarily displaying your scars to everyone but unfortunately a lot of people don’t realise how bad someone can be feeling mentally because of a lack of understanding. People understand physical pain and hurt a lot easier, than mental pain. A person can feel so low and so alone and like no one understands how bad they feel so they don’t get the help they desperately need. But they know if someone accidentally or purposely sees or finds out they want to or do hurt themselves they seem to take more notice of the problem. I wouldn’t call them an attention seeker I’d say they are desperate for help because they can’t take how they feel for much longer! Ironic that people will call someone an attention seeker if they don’t understand a mental illness yet, when people around them fail to recognise how bad that person feels, they go to such lengths to make people realise but then they are again an attention seeker!

I have often heard people say ‘if someone wanted to die, they could have easily committed suicide properly’ and I think that’s the bit people don’t understand, I have been there, felt so low where all sorts of things go through your mind. When I think deeply about those thoughts and feelings I  was experiencing I didn’t want to die and be gone from the world and everyone I love forever, I just wanted the pain inside to stop. People are willing to attempt suicide to stop how they feel there and then, others yes may genuinely want to die, but I think a lot of the time its despair, because I do think its true if you really wanted to be gone you could do it. But I don’t think a lot of people suffering genuinely want that, they wan’t to be heard, understood, helped and to get rid of what emotions they are feeling.


At the end of the day calling someone who is clearly struggling with an internal battle whether it be for ‘attention’ or another reason an attention seeker is unfair and helps nor you or that person, take it seriously. There will be a reason behind what they are doing and one day that cry for help won’t be a cry for help, they will take the self harm too far or succeed with their next suicide attempt, don’t let the person get that far. I was worried about writing about this subject as I know it’s a very sensitive and controversial topic and I didn’t want to give out the wrong message. I wanted people to see that ‘attention seeking’ doesn’t always mean someone’s not suffering.  I do hope someone out there related to what I wrote about, if you have ever been called an attention seeker yourself or just found this  informative and helped you understand this topic more.

Stay Strong,


Don’t Hide Your Mental Illness


As I’m sure everyone is aware there can be a certain amount of stigma surrounding mental illness. But I am here to tell you to never hide it, of course I don’t think you should be sharing all your private problems with any old tom dick and harry, but I think its healthy to be open about it. There are plenty of positive reasons to be open about your mental health problems…

  • Most people who are a little bit ignorant about mental illnesses are purely like that because they don’t understand and they lack knowledge about the subject. By you talking about your struggles openly and discussing how it makes you feel and how it can affect you at times, may open their eyes to the subject and teach them that just because you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, it does not make you any less of a person than them and that your mental illness doesn’t define you, there are plenty of other things about you.


  •  There could be someone out there feeling very alone facing similar problems to you and by you opening up and sharing your experiences you could inspire them to do the same. Not only that but you could make them feel like there not alone, as I have found I know there are tons of people going through OCD like I am, but actually speaking to people on twitter and seeing TV shows about it has made me feel much less alone and more like part of a strong team that fights everyday and although we may not know each other, we share the same kind of struggles! Starting this blog, sharing my story and interacting with other people who go through similar things to me has been so humbling. Your story could help and inspire someone else!


  • Talking about your everyday struggles and just venting about how you are feeling is very liberating, bottling up things will never help. I have always been quite open that I have had certain struggles but since starting this blog I have really opened up about my OCD, Anxiety and Depression and it has been such a weight of my shoulders. I feel like I now have nothing to hide and I have explained and educated people on why I feel how I do sometimes, why I used to make excuses about going out and plenty of other things! Talking about things has also helped me learn about the way I think and writing about all the techniques I learnt in therapy to help with my OCD has reminded me of what to do when I am struggling.



 If you learn to be open, embrace and not to be embarrassed about suffering with a mental health problem,  other people can also be inspired to kick this stigma to the curb! If someone is ignorant and rude to you about what you go through, that’s not any reflection of you and having a mental illness that is only a reflection on them and who they are, that’s their problem, not yours. You can hold your head high and know you are strong for fighting through those daily battles you have faced, this goes for any problem anyone of you has gone through, it doesn’t have to be a mental illness, but don’t hide away, share you story, help yourself and others.

If you share your story with your family, a therapist, a friend, online who ever and however it may be I respect you for that and if you don’t I hope you are able too soon and I hope this blog post makes you feel a teeny tiny bit more positive about doing so!

Anna ♥