Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a mental illness or struggle with addiction?
Maybe you have experience with a mental illness, and wonder what it’s like to sit in the professional’s chair, trying to help.
Three days ago someone asked: “Psychiatrists/Psychologists of Reddit, what is the most profound or insightful thing you have ever heard from a patient with a mental illness?”
Cue the internet.
What came back were some wonderful insights into what people are struggling with, and what working in these mental health roles is like.
“I worked with a child (11 years old) who had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and I was having a conversation about how it affects interpersonal communication,” wrote BigNasty417.
“I was fumbling through explaining non-verbal cues, misunderstandings, etc when he said to me, ‘It’s like trying to explain color to someone who’s colorblind’.”
Droppinkn0wledge said that early in their career they had worked with an 56-year-old alcoholic who said: “I feel like a ghost, walking around unseen in the backdrops of these other happy lives.”
Some responses from people who are working with children are among the best.
Nezumipi writes about a child with autism struggling with her difficulty in making and keeping friends.
“It’s okay if I don’t have any friends. Having friends makes you happy but it doesn’t make you a good person. You know who was really popular? Hitler,” the child said.
“This girl was so lonely and it was causing her so much pain, but she still managed to see the difference between being popular and being good,” Nezumipi wrote.
“We made a project of finding examples of unpopular people who did really good and important things. She still has a tough life ahead of her, but I think her attitude will help her be strong.”
Another Redditor, NerdyMommaMere recounted working with a 16-year-old boy with non-verbal autism who was learning to communicate using a specialised typing app.
“One of his first independently typed sentences was ‘Under my frenzy is freedom’. He completely clarified autism for me with that one sentence.”
Among the comments there were many that talked about the insight of people with mental illness, not just into their own conditions, but also the broader world.