Don't look down on me because I'm unemployed.

That dreaded question of 'so what do you do for a living?' in which I pause to quickly sum up in my head how I'm going to explain my current situation. Just knowing that when/if I just say I'm currently unemployed some people will instantly judge me as that person that's just too lazy to go to work, well wrong I'm not that. I know I shouldn't have to explain myself any further if I don't feel comfortable doing so but the fear of judgement leaves me feeling like I have to.

So yes, I've been unemployed for 3 months now due to circumstances out of my control. It was decided that due to my mental health I was no longer able to work right now. My mental health became something that unfortunately took over my life to the extent it was affecting my work/life balance. 

Now with this new title of 'unemployed', I've felt like I'm somewhat failing. I know deep down that isn't the truth and I won't be in this situation forever. For 3 years I worked as a health care assistant at a hospital on an elderly people's ward, so I'm not that lazy able-bodied 22-year old that just can't be bothered to work, I have achieved things and I know the meaning of a hard days work. I spent 3 years sitting with patients when they were scared and confused due to dementia, I talked and listened to patients stories during visiting hours because I knew not all of them had visitors coming to see them, I held somebodies hand as they took their last breath and many a time my face amongst many of the other great people I worked alongside with were the faces our patients became so familiar with and trusted the most when they felt so alone and vulnerable in hospital. 

Although currently, I don't feel like I have a 'place' to fit in when it comes to any sort of career, I know I made a difference for 3 years, even if it was just a tiny difference. So please don't judge me when I say I'm unemployed, I haven't always been and I won't always be. I'm more than just the person who's not able to work right now and I know I'll find my place in a job when I'm well enough and ready to return to the world of work. 

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Please don't say 'I know how you're feeling'.

Living with a mental health illness means you get a lot of people asking how you are, people not completely understanding your illness and really not understanding just how different it is to being 'down' or a little bit upset. There are a ton of things I could list that get my back up when it comes to people discussing mental health, but there are also a lot of positive things I could mention too. Unfortunately this time it's a negative. 

My biggest pet peeve is the whole 'Oh I know exactly how you're feeling.' Do you, do you really? Now I don't mean to sound like a bit of a dick, but when you have had someone stood in front of you saying that when what they really mean is they've just had a bad day or feeling a bit crap for the day it gets a bit frustrating. Maybe I'm just a bit sensitive and I shouldn't take it to heart so much, but it can be hard especially if it's said to you on a particularly bad day. 

I don't for one second think just because I have a mental illness anything I go through automatically means it is more significant and upsetting than someone who does not have a mental illness. I know some things I talk about some people may be able to relate, so yes they may know how I'm feeling. But please think before you use that sentence and try to decipher whether you really do know how that person is feeling, don't just say it because you think that's the right thing to say. For many people with a mental illness, including myself, I can at times find it a little insulting. If I have had the confidence to open up to you about something, please listen, you don't even need to try and understand what we're saying we're just happy you're there to listen to our rants and cries! 

As I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) I believe you will only ever know how I'm truly feeling if you too have the illness or a similar mental illness. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I won't or can't ever relate to someone's emotions in general, but the more severe ones that we/I often struggle to express are the one's I don't think people no matter how close they are too you will be able to relate too and that is perfectly okay. I know I would rather someone say they're not sure how to help than telling me they know how it feels, as I said just listening to us is far more useful.