I'm doing that thing where I think instead of sleeping, so I'm going to ramble a bit.
I know people with various mental health issues, I know enough about them to understand that I do not understand depression ect. I can recognize it in people and I know the names of thoughts and feelings associated with them. But I do not understand. I would be lying if I ever told one of my aforementioned friends that I did. I would know it. And they would know it.
No one ever really understands the depth and breadth of another persons feelings. I would imagine that no 2 people feel happiness, love or excitement in the same way. And these are things that most of us experience in our lives. How can anyone claim to understand an emotion/mindset that they have not experianced?
Fuck it, I don't even understand the way other people think!
I would put a wager that the most common lie that people with Depression(/other mental health disorders) hear from their loved ones is: "I understand! I understand and I'm here for you."
How can anyone believe any part of that sentence when it is prefixed with such a blatant lie? Why do people even say it? Do they believe it or are they trying trick their friend into thinking that it'll all be fine because someone understands.
We all learned one thing at adolescence and that is that no one ever fully understands another person. "Uh! Mom! You don't understand! It's so unfair!" (that and how to squeeze spots)
Honestly I think this is a lie that people tell to make themselves feel better. To feel like they're being understanding and their for the person.
But understanding doesn't necessarily mean that you understand exactly what they're going through.
Here, understanding is "I'm not going to judge you."
Understanding is "I love you anyway."
Understanding is "This doesn't change anything."
Mental health issues still carry a stigma. And ignorance. Oh-ho I could rant on about ignorance and local government and mental health for ever... but then I'd neglect the point I'm making:
Our job as friends and family is to shield them from the stigma, to listen, but not to pry.
Let the doctors do the rest, they're better at it.