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Low mood and a horrible experience with mental health crisis helpline worker

Creativeboy23Creativeboy23 Posts: 208 Trailblazer
edited May 6 in Health & Wellbeing


Hello all.

Yesterday, I was low mood. I have done some photography, but it has not helped. It just feels like my mood is spiralling. I went over to my parent’s house for dinner. My dad told me that my mum noticed there was not much in my cupboard when she came over to my flat. Then, I was playing out the following negative scenarios. My dad spoke to my support worker about how I am like at home. My support worker told him I was offended by his comments. So, my dad was criticising me for being upset in the car. I was not talking to my uncle because he lectured me on encountering people who will say comments in the future. My cousin forced me to forgive my dad and shake his hand when he has hurt me repeatedly. I returned to feel misunderstood as an autistic person.

I shared these struggles with a mental health crisis helpline. I felt that the mental health worker rushed into problem solving before trying to empathise with my experience. He told not to let my struggles deprive me of my joy. He said forget about what happened and open a new chapter for myself today. I feel now that I should move past my memories despite them being difficult and that I would be doing something when I get upset by them.

He said everyone is misunderstood and gave an example of how he is when it is not the same as being misunderstood as an autistic. I felt he minimised my struggle by comparing it to his experience. He said being misunderstood is what it is in life. He said move on, if you get misunderstood.

He asked if I tried anything and I said earlier I tried photography but that did not work and that it is difficult to think of strategies when you are low and he suggested that I tried other strategies. I expressed to him that I did not feel he acknowledged my difficulty with thinking about coping techniques.

He said sugarcoating is not what we do here and spoke about his job which felt very condescending.

He asked lots of questions which made me feel interrogated and that I had to explain myself.

He used the phrase ‘man to man’ which offended me because it carried a toxic masculinity tone which does not feel as positive.

My experience made me feel discouraged from using the service. I am still going to use it thought because it was a particular worker rather than the whole service. It was upsetting to have that experience with a helpline you are encouraged to use.

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    AzzimanAzziman Moderator, Community Champion Posts: 1,933 Extreme Poster
    Hey @Creativeboy23, thank you for sharing your experiences with us here. I can hear how the situation at dinner left you feel misunderstood, which isn't nice at all.

    Well done for speaking to a helpline, that's a good step to take in the situation. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't have a positive experience - you call for emotional support, so I understand that having someone trying to problem solve and minimise your experience is frustrating and unhelpful. You deserve to be heard and listened to properly. rather than a case to be resolved.

    I'm happy to hear that you're okay to give the service another go - I'd hope that you're right and that it was a bad experience, rather than a bad service. Seeking help from these types of resources is important and encouraged, so it's fair to expect that they'll listen to you when you want support.

    How do you feel about the original situation after some time, as well as the helpline incident?
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 687 Incredible Poster
    Sorry to hear you've been in a low mood. Is there anything that you can think of that might've caused your low mood?

    Sometimes our parents want what's best for us, or what they think is best for us, and this can lead to tension if we aren't doing things the way they might want us to do things (or the way they would do things). For example, your mother passing on her concern about there not being much in your cupboard when she visited, suggests that she might be concerned if you are looking after yourself okay, in terms of shopping, cooking etc. You might be doing just fine, but it sounds like your mother might have expected you to have more in your cupboards.

    The same goes for how your dad spoke to your support worker and your support worker told your dad that you were offended by your dad's comments. Your dad might've thought he was trying to help and might not have realised that you would get offended (or didn't think that you would get offended). Which then might have lead to him criticising you in the car after the support worker told him you were offended. It is really difficult when you feel you are misunderstood and don't know how to get others to acknowledge your perspective.

    It's also understandable that you wouldn't want to talk to your uncle when he lectured you on how to encounter others who say stuff in the future. And that you feel you have been forced by your cousin to forgive your dad despite feeling hurt many times by him. Just because others have a different viewpoint, it doesn't mean that they are right or that only their viewpoint matters. Your perspective matters too!

    While it is true that everyone will experience being misunderstood at some point in their lives, it is unfortunately more likely to be experience by autistic people (given that there is a difference in communication as well as life experiences). I'm sorry that you feel the mental health helpline worker misunderstood you and didn't try to empathise with you. There are types of support that are better suited for problem solving and it seems like the helpline worker might've been trying to problem solve, without trying to understand first. He might've thought that by sharing his experience of being misunderstood, he would be empathising with you, although I understand that this isn't the same, especially if you are talking about being misunderstood as an autistic person, rather than a general misunderstanding in day to day life.

    It's good that you haven't let the experience stop you from continuing to use the helpline (especially if it was just with that one person that you had a bad experience with). I'm also wondering whether you have much support for autism in your area or even online? You might find that other autistic people, whether they are counsellors, peer supporters or just members of online forums (like this one!) might be better at understanding and supporting you with regards to what it's like to be autistic and misunderstood.
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    Creativeboy23Creativeboy23 Posts: 208 Trailblazer

    Hello @Maisy.

    I get that you are trying to get me to look at the situation from my mum’s perspective, and you are right. My mum was showing her concern. However, her wanting me to do things her way is frustrating. I feel a lot of emphasis is placed on my mum’s feelings. It made me feel only her feelings matter and that she is the right one because she is a parent and I am a young person. It came off as condescending. It brought up a similar experience at university. I know it is unlikely that you intended for me to feel like that and want to be supportive, but my feelings are just as valid as my mum’s.

    The situation with my dad and cousin was a worst-case scenario based on negative experiences with him. Although it was a worst-case scenario, it is upsetting that he was spoken about as being supportive when he has hurt me.

    No. There is not much support for autism. I was told about a group I had used, but it did not feel helpful. Another service did not seem very active.

    I cannot remember now what caused my low mood.

    I appreciate your support.
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    Creativeboy23Creativeboy23 Posts: 208 Trailblazer

    Hey @Azziman.

    Thank you for your support.

    The situations have still been affecting me.
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 687 Incredible Poster
    Hey there,

    I guess I was so focused on trying to understand the misunderstandings in your post that I ended up accidentally misunderstanding you and not explaining myself well. I apologise if I came across as condescending and not validating your feelings- that was not my intention at all.

    Parents often want wants best for us (or what they see as best for us) but this can be conflicting if they don't realise when they are over stepping the mark. It's understandable that you would be feeling misunderstood if you feel that your parents aren't able to understand that you aren't a child anymore and are capable of doings things by yourself.

    I don't know what it's like for you, but I know for me, when I have been misunderstood, it's often because the other person doesn't know much about my situation. But if I take the time to show or tell them my efforts, they learn that I am capable of doing things without their input. Of course, this might not help in all circumstances, especially if you feel that your parents might keep on misunderstanding you and trying to get you to do things their way.

    I'm also sorry that your dad was spoken about in a supportive manner, when he has hurt you. It's understandable that you would be upset about this and that you would feel misunderstood over having to forgive someone (who others see as supportive) knowing that you have been hurt.

    Even though you might not have much support, it's good that you have a support worker who can be honest with your parents. Perhaps, in time, your parents may learn to see things from your perspective, which in turn, might help to lessen the misunderstandings.
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    Creativeboy23Creativeboy23 Posts: 208 Trailblazer

    Hello @Maisy.

    It is okay. Thank you for your support.
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