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The 'There is someone that has it worse than you' attempt to make yourself feel better?

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ngt93

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The 'There is someone that has it worse than you' attempt to make yourself feel better?

When I am feeling down I try telling myself 'well at least you at least you weren't born in some place like Africa were you would probably be starving to death etc or you weren't born into an abusive family like some people'.

This does not make me feel better at all, does it work for anyone else?
 
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ngt93

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Suppose some would argue that it's a selfish attitude but it doesn't change my mood. Trying to replace you own negativity by other negativity.
 
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coraline166

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I definitely know what you mean. I think sometimes it can be important to remind yourself of the 'bigger picture' (for want of a better phrase), but usually it's a totally inadequate and dismissive stock response said by people who don't have any idea of what mental health problems are like. I've had this said to me, and would probably (ok, definitely) still be really upset and angry if I tried to talk to someone now about it in real life and they said that. It can be extremely hard to even reach out in the first place. Plus of course, mental health problems affect millions of people all over the world, causing hugely reduced quality of life and ability to function in society. I'm pretty sure it's universally agreed on that poverty and abuse are often massive contributors to psychological damage and mental health problems -- so with that particular example, it's just bizarre really.
 
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pepecat

pepecat

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When I am feeling down I try telling myself 'well at least you at least you weren't born in some place like Africa were you would probably be starving to death etc or you weren't born into an abusive family like some people'.

This does not make me feel better at all, does it work for anyone else?
I had a psych tell me that once. His recommendation to me was to go and read a book about CBT and think about how people had it worse than me.

I complained about him.

Objectively, he was right. There generally will be someone worse off than us, for whatever reasons. But playing that 'who has it worse' game helps no-one. Yes, people DO have it worse, but that doesn't change the fact that your particular circumstances, and your particular way of dealing with them (or not) is causing you grief. Telling someone with a broken leg to think about how (for example) cancer patients have it worse than them doesn't magically stop the pain of a broken leg or heal it. That would be utter nonsense.
Saying that to someone with MH issues is probably one of the most unhelpful things people can say. Or that we say to ourselves. It can make us feel guilty, and when we're in the worst of places, just exacerbate the issue. When I'm in a more rational and 'well' place I can think that actually the stuff I go through, compared to some people, actually isn't that bad - and I'm ok with that - objectively it's NOT that bad, but that's not really the point. The point is the effect is has on me and how it affects my functioning day to day. At that point, it's kinda irrelevant what experiences other people have.

Some people live in awful situations and cope relatively well with them, others live in seemingly ok situations but find it hard to cope. It's just the way it is, and comparisons with other people can be very unhelpful, depending on our state of mind.
 
ScaredCat

ScaredCat

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Doesnt work for me. Makes me feel bad for feeling how i do which then makes me feel even worse and so on. Spiral downwards. Not a helpful phrase
 
tiltawhirl

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My first thought response to: "It could be worse" is "It could be a lot better."

That whole argument is nonsense as far as I am concerned.

I do have compassion for others who suffer...and I have it for myself too.
 
blueflames

blueflames

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Your problems are worse because they are yours-full stop!!

I said to someone the other day, some people are born unable to walk but if I broke my leg I would still bloody moan about it!

Nothing wrong with feeling sad about the things that are hard for you xxx
 
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ramboghettouk

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dr at bowel screening place said you could have terminal cancer, i could also be a fat cat director of british gas
 
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clarabow

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I had a friend who after I had supported her through some tough stuff, told me that I had "First World problems". She did this a few times and it really did f""k me off, I found it incredibly condescending. Even in the midst of a depression I watch the news and stay informed about the tragedies happening to other people, however when in deep despair it just makes me feel worse because I feel even more powerless about the state of this world.
However, having worked quite closely with physically disabled people over the last few months, something has shifted in me. I am still suffering with Depression (suspect I always will be) but advocating for and doing whatever I can to help people around me who just physically can't, or don't have the confidence to speak up for themselves, has shown me how strong I can actually be. It also makes me think that my life might turn out to be worthwhile and useful after all.
 
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Darby

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I suppose it can help if you're "normal" as to say you have a "normal" balance of happiness and depression, your mind is as far as the world's science and psychology have studied is healthy. Otherwise it does absolutely nothing like someone else said, its one of the first steps to a downward spiral. Yet if you're already in a downward spiral then it could push you deeper.
 
chazxxx

chazxxx

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This is one of my biggest pet hates.
I'm not sure who thinks this is helpful :mad: though good for you if it does. But i just think its dismissive and disregarding of peoples feelings/issues/experiences. It makes you feel guilty and ashamed. If people tell me "could be worse, you could be some poor african starving to death" it just makes me wish we could swap places, give someone else a chance with my life because i don't want it, perhaps someone else would appreciate and make better use of it. Sometimes it even makes me wish i did have worse problems, just so others can feel like how i feel is justified.
Different things effect different people differently. Playing top trumps with who has it worse is ridiculous. You have every right to feel how you feel imo
 
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Nacho

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I'd like to meet someone who thinks that this is an ok thing to say to someone dealing with mental health issues. Or any health issues for that matter. By this logic, it seems to me that there can only be one person in the world that has a right to complain about how sucky they have it. There shouldn't be any comparisons, it's not helpful at all.
 
In the Clouds

In the Clouds

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It's something I tell myself when I'm trying to be positive and pick myself back up, because I do feel I should be thankful for what I have. But I'd never say it to anyone else without properly knowing their circumstances, and would only say it in response to something like a friend has just had a bad day and weren't properly upset.
Just because someone out these is suffering more does not make your problems any less real. I say it to myself when I want to put things into perspective, but would be very offended if someone said it to me after I opened up. What kind of mentality is that to impose on someone? 'Don't get things off your chest, keep it to yourself and feel even worse about it'.
 
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Callalily

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It's just another way to undermine us. It isn't right that only one person in the world is allowed to feel sad about their situation. I hate the "who's illest" game, it's very similar. If we all think about someone worse off, eventually there is only one person entitled to fell how they feel, what a crock of shit that is!

I am more than capable of recognising when things could be worse for me, I don't need to imagine I was born in a different country to do that, it doesn't really matter though. I can know things can be worse while still feeling at the limit of my ability to cope.

I posted an article about positive thinking on this thread and what a load of bollocks I think it all is :)
 
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