Here's what we need to stop saying to people with anxiety

It's such an easy trap to fall into, but it can make things so much worse. Are you guilty of this simple mistake?

The problem with anxiety and depression , postnatal depression or postnatal anxiety , is that it isn’t rational and it doesn’t make sense.

The other problem with it, is people don’t know what to say to someone who has it, but I can tell you what not to say, and that’s “but you’re so lucky” or “be grateful” or “you are blessed” with your life, children, whatever.

Mum Society: Chelsea Pottenger and Steph Pase on postnatal depression92096

Mental health advocate Chelsea Pottenger and blogger Steph Pase open up about their own personal experiences with postnatal depression thanks to Mum Society.

"You. Are. Worthless."

When you are in a place of pain, a deep dark place of pain, your brain tells you that you are worthless. Imagine that, imagine having someone whispering that to you all day. You. Are. Worthless. It’s tiring hearing it. It’s tiring feeling that pain. It truly is.

So sometimes to ease that pain, we agree with it. We are worthless. We let the thoughts tumble down onto us like heavy bricks and we say other things that aren’t rational, like, I don’t deserve to live. It’s a hard thing to think and/or to say.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

It’s even harder to say it out loud.

I remember once I said, “I don’t want to live anymore, my kids deserve better than this, I should have never had them and dragged them down with me.”

Image: Instagram/themumontherun_.

Laura is very open about her mental health. Image: Instagram/themumontherun_.

"They were painful words"

I threw out those words to someone. They were painful words. They were hard to say. Really really hard. They were from a place of real agonising pain, and I think I did it because I wanted a lifeline. I wanted that chance of hope. I wanted someone to help me rationalise. I didn’t know it at the time but it’s what I needed.

But instead I got, “you should feel so lucky! You are blessed.”

Imagine telling yourself you’re so worthless, you’re not deserving, that you literally f**k up everything you touch and feeling guilty for all of that, like a tumble dryer in your head, swirling around and then someone says, “be grateful.”

So then you reiterate to yourself that the fact that you can’t be means you ARE a horrible person, you ARE all the things you thought, you are the shit person who is just so unappreciative for the amazing life you’ve been given so the fact that you think that way makes you a horrible person who is worthless. Who should die.

Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Heavy, right?

Painful, right?

"They're lifelines"

I know mental illness can be scary for people who don’t have it. I know it’s confusing. But you don’t have to walk on eggshells, you just have to understand. Our brains don’t fire like yours. And boy do we wish they did.

But the darkest moments for us are when we say the darkest things but those dark things are disguised as lifelines.

They're lifelines.

Image: Instagram/themumontherun_.

Image: Instagram/themumontherun_.

We want you to throw over a lifebuoy a life jacket, a hand out. We want you to see the pain and say, it’s not true. Those thoughts in your head, the irrational thoughts, they’re not true.

You know what I think? I think the whole “be grateful” saying is shit when you have a mental illness. Because it’s essentially telling someone they can’t be unhappy and so they should shut their mouth. They should hide how they really feel. I think what we should say, what we should tell someone who has lost all hope, is that they’re enough.

What we should say

We should say, that it’s really brave to speak that way.

We should tell them they’re human, that these feelings hurt and their hard, but they’re doing the best they can.

Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

We should tell them how we love them, how people around them love them.

That no matter what we won’t give up. That they are worth a fight, they are worth so much.

Someone who can’t see the things in their life to be grateful for are in a dark place, help them switch on the light.

This post originally appeared on The Mum on the Run and has been republished here with permission. You can follow Laura on or Instagram.

If you're experiencing mental health issues, contact one of the services below.

Image: kidspot.com.au.