But what if I can’t talk in the way that you can hear me?
I will post about mental health issues because I am afflicted by mental health issues. I’ve never made it a secret, nor have I ever glossed over the issues of anyone else.
What pains me greatly about days like Bell’s #BellLetsTalk is that people seem to be afforded one day to freely converse betwixt themselves, usually with like-minded individuals, about their personal stories, journeys and perseverance through the darker crevasses of the mind.
Now, I’m glaringly aware that these kinds of initiatives progress programming and research across this vast country, and I am truly thankful. But, the reality goes deeper than Eeyore’s mood:
What if I told you that I no longer feel the desire to talk at all? Do you know why?
Because, if I post my “A picture’s worth a thousand lies”…you won’t know how to distinguish between the days where I’m really damn “Happy.” or whether a small snapshot across my social media feed is simply a factual moment in time before I’ve had an ugly cry on the kitchen floor and after I’ve mantra’d myself to near death with, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.” *shifty eyes*
So, people continue to pre-judge with assumptions that may or may not apply.
If, on the other hand, the Asshat Cosmos is being in its own mood and shoving barrels full of shit my way in the chaos of my reality, I can only post *some* of that, if anything at all.
Know why? Because people still don’t want to see it/read it/and/or/hear it.
But what if I can’t talk in the way that you’d want to hear me?
I’ve then become a whiner, an attention-seeker, a gods-knows-what-else kind of “that girl.”
The thing with mental health issues seems to reduce to the following:
Do people have to care?
The answer may seem to be a resounding “yes”…but think for a moment: I don’t have to like all your foodie posts, you don’t have to like all my coffee posts…what on this beautiful blue and green orb hurtling through time and space makes me think you need to care about my mental health?
*stay with me here…this part is important*
What if, in people making limits and boundaries about the relationships they carry with people, NOT listening to, or acknowledging, your mental health issues is a limit and boundary they will not break, bend or budge?
I think this is a spot-on perspective regarding all that is happening across the global human community of relationships and the issues of mental health.
It’s not your choice to decide. Mental health is a clinical, medical condition that deserves the same treatment and respect as your mother’s cancer or your cousin’s MS or my Lupus. You don’t get to put a limit and/or boundary around it like a sandwich baggie.
Chemical brain snafu’s are not a thing to be mocked. Coping Skills 101 is not a compulsory school course. If we can adjust to the plethora of other social issues in today’s global community like gender equality, sexual identity…we can sure as shit treat a medical condition with the compassion it deserves.
“I don’t want to deal with hearing about it.” is a pretty stellar way of saying, “I don’t respect you enough as a person to acknowledge your medical condition.”
Thing is, I journey through the chaos of my made-for-tv-movie one up and one down at a time. I live at the rate of several “wtf’s” per second. It’s simply the way it is. Do you know how you’ll know that I’ve made the daily choice to try to mantra myself to utterly ridiculous levels that coffee alone cannot hope to achieve? How you’ll know that I’ve found a few ways to self-care or to find my #gladitude?
Because you’ll not have attended my funeral.
I simply do not have the ability to articulate this statement any truer than that.
When I was in the throes of pharmaceutical poison being pushed through my veins during my intensive chemotherapy treatments back in the fall in order to, y’know, NOT die from Lupus…the truth is? I wanted to. Often. Do you understand the ability to make your body do daily adulting things in the midst of dry-heaving? Of course not. Not many people do and, I can sure as shit assure you, I never want anyone to have to understand that ability. EVER.
Do you, if you follow me on any other of the eleventy-billion social media platforms I’m on, remember the posts of The Everything Else? Do you remember the photographs of my kids or myself or the view at the end of my street?
They’re there because I still CHOSE to “Do.” shit in my life and it would be Cosmically stellar if people could be taught compassion that, no matter how unreal mental health issues are to them or whether or not the issues factor in on their Care Scale, there IS a real struggle AND the real ability to help oneself along the way. I think most people with mental health issues DO want to help themselves along the way. But, who will want to if their interpersonal relationships are consistently fraught with judgement, absence of support and/or shame?
I think, when people come across someone struggling to manage a mental health issue, it may be best to formulate a strategy for themselves on how best to react. I wish this was a more inclusive part of “ending the stigma” that I would really love to see. There are a couple of commercials on cable right now where people are reacting (supposedly in their minds) to hearing someone talk about a coworker with a mental health issue, or by a coworker themselves. It infuriated me when I’d first seen them. Why? Because no matter the situation, this stigma is glued to the habitual reaction based on one’s personal history of circumstance and events.
In short, if you’ve grown up thinking mental health is “all in your head”…how do we as a society, then, direct resources to those very people who are supposed to be engaging within the Bell “Let’s Talk” campaign? The majority of mental health conversations I see in my various threads and feeds are between those who are afflicted or who knows personally knows someone who is afflicted (a spouse/partner/family member).
I can totally talk to these people.
I also see my newsfeed littered with “keep your drama to yourself” memes.
Thing is? Maybe that was someone’s post to try to attempt to indicate and engage in a journey through the less-than-stellar.
But what if I CAN talk in the way that you WANT to hear me?
I want to know how to make that happen.
How do you think society, as a human community, can accomplish this with the resources and funds raised by the “Let’s Talk” campaign?