‘I Know How You Feel’

This is probably the sentence I hate most in the world. I understand the sentiment behind it but it is always a lie. Nobody ever knows exactly how you feel and them pretending they do often makes things a lot worse before it makes anything any better. It is a string of words that falls out of people’s mouths without much thought most of the time. I know this because if you had thought about it, I know you wouldn’t say it. So in order to save you some time in trying to figure out what I mean, I’m going to explain.

Imagine that one of your grandparents passes away (apologies for being morbid). You have lost a grandparent and so have your siblings and cousins. One of your parents has lost a parent and so have their siblings. Somebody else may have lost a husband or a wife and many others will have lost a friend. One person is no longer with us but many people are mourning, does this mean that everybody knows how each other person is feeling merely because they have all lost the same person from their lives? No, because every single one of those people has a completely different relationship with that person and everybody has a different way of coping with this loss. A much simpler example would be if one of your friends was suddenly single after being in a relationship for some time. You can’t know how they feel because you had no idea about how much they cared for their ex or what the circumstances felt like when they broke up.

The reason that I am writing a post on this isn’t to sound depressing by talking about death and break ups, it’s actually because when I tell people about my Anxiety or Depression and they say ‘I know how you feel’ I get very angry. The worst case is when somebody hasn’t suffered from the problem and just because they have had a bad day or got a bit stressed over something they imagine that that is how you feel. However, I’m not much more sympathetic to people who have had these problems that say it, because they should understand that no mental health problem is the same. Not only do mental health problems affect each person in a different way but they will also bring about a new set of circumstances. Having a mental health problem as a teenager living at home is very different to having one at when you’re out at work when you’re potentially living alone.

One of the problems faced by mental health problem sufferers is a lack of understanding by other people. However, next time you go to express your sympathy by saying ‘I know how you feel’, just think…do you really?

2 thoughts on “‘I Know How You Feel’

  1. Pingback: ‘It hasn’t happened yet’ | All The stuff in my head

  2. Pingback: Anxiety, You’re Not Winning Here | SpottySunflowers

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