rant

Thoughts on Words, Support, and Culture

Hello, beautiful darlings,

Is it just me or has this felt like the looonngggessst week ever? I’m getting so sick of shutdowns and being trapped at home and not being able to function like a normal human being. Ughhhh…

Anywho. Today I wanted to jump straight in and have a little chat about mental illness and a few of the things that really affect it, especially right now. Heavy subject matter maybe, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Over the last ten years or so, possibly longer if I could remember, I’ve heard comments from all sorts of people about how mental illness must just be laziness or some other such nonsense.

“It’s all in your head.”

“Have you tried NOT being depressed?”

“You have nothing to worry about, your life is great!”

“You must not be trying hard enough. If you do X, you’ll get over it more quickly.”

“I know someone who did X and they’re totally normal now!”

Ad nauseam, on and on and on again.

Please. Just. Stop. It.

I’m begging you.

First of all, mental illness is just that. An illness. Would you say those same things to someone who was suffering from a physical medical diagnosis? I’m willing to bet that you would not. Well, some people might, but most people wouldn’t. Not only that, but mental illness is not considered an acute illness. There is such a thing as situational depression or anxiety that is caused by a traumatic event, of course, but the majority of cases are CHRONIC. Meaning that there are good phases, there are bad patches, and there’s everything in between. We keep keeping on, doing the things that help keep us in the good places and move on.

Trying to find the support that is truly needed is hard. I personally have a very small number of people that I would consider reaching out to during a really rough patch. I may write about it all on here, but 9 times out of 10, I’m writing about the experience after the worst is over.

Mental willpower is something that people misunderstand, though, and that seems to play into a lot of the bizarre comments that I and many other folks with mental issues have received. Religious communities tend to give pat answers like “pray harder!” or “if you have enough faith/trust, God will release you from your illness.” I’m sorry, but that just isn’t the case! Of course, I believe that God has the power to take away our struggles and our ailments – that not what I’m saying at all. The problem with these answers is that they’re pretty and easy. They put all the blame at the feet of the suffering individual. And we’re not meant to go through things all alone, we’re meant to go through them together, with community and encouragement and love.

The other thing that contributes to a lot of this problem is simply the culture that we have right now. The world is lonely. We have social media and memes and entertainment at our fingertips, and we’re always working and running from this place to the next. We have no true connection. We don’t have people that we do life with on a basic, emotional level. Like I said, we’re meant as humans to have a community. We’re not meant to go through life alone. And I’m not talking romantically alone, I mean having meaningful friendships and relationships that you cultivate and nurture.

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Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

Trust me, I am preaching myself more than anyone right now. I have failed my friends in so many ways. I have pushed people away, and I struggle every single day just to text people back when they reach out. Nobody said that the things that we truly need would be easy to find. They take work and believe me when I say that I am SO awful at searching for community and friendship. But the times that I push through and actually try? Those are the moments that I really treasure and hold close.

That’s my little rant for the day, and reading back over this, I realize that I’ve glossed over a lot of deep topics that could very easily be turned into their own posts – so I guess that will probably happen in the future. All I’m trying to say right now is think about how powerful words can be and how important we are to each other.

What do you think? Is this something that you think about and struggle with too? I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on these ideas. 🙂


Love, kindness, and so many hugs!

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, mental health, 0 comments