So, I should probably be working towards my final for this online class and my other articles, but you all know me and my spontaneous writing sessions. It’s like my gaming sessions: I’ll game for a week or two or three, every day for hours until both of my hands shrivel and turn black and my finger tips fall off, then I won’t game for a few months.
May is “mental health awareness” month or whatever, yada yada. If you all want my opinion on this, you can refer to this post particularly, because I’m sick of reiterating the same thing every year.
But, this post will probably seem fitting for that cult-mindset (Ooh, bringin’ out the big guns now), because it’s about another person who claims to be a mental health advocate herself. Well, it’s not really about her, but more so about what was said to her, that I don’t necessarily agree with. And you know when I don’t agree with something, I have to put it out there on the internet for a bunch of people to not agree with me. That’s the way of the world, right?
I am not a Dr. Phil fan. I think the show is highly dramatized, and although subjects are approached with caution, I feel we’re pressured to believe that this Phil dude (who isn’t really a psychologist, did you know that?) helps people in a way no other person could. His wife’s face scares the fuck out of me (Sorry), and these people’s lives are almost exploited on television. I don’t really know how that makes mental health issues look, particularly if he advocates things like “bipolar disease“.
You all remember the girl who was on there who believed she was pregnant with Jesus or whatever and claimed she’d been diagnosed with “paranoid schizophrenia” and her parents argued and said she “hadn’t been” . . . what was that episode even? Jesus Christ. Personally, I liked the man who said he wrote one of Taylor Swifts’ songs. I think Taylor should just give him the rights, because she’s only embarrassing herself by admitting she writes that shit she sings.
Anyway, A few weeks ago I guess this woman, Emily, who says she is a mental health advocate and posts pictures of herself online with her multitudes of self-harm scars, was also on Dr. Phil. She says that she shouldn’t have to be ashamed of her scars and she should be free to wear the shorts and short-sleeves that she does without feeling shameful for it.
As a self-harmer (although, I haven’t struggled with it in a while, since October 2016) I agree with her. Would I go around posting every scar and cut, old and new, online: no. That’s my personal preference not to do that. Whether she does or not, whatever. People who say she’s influencing people to cut themselves–I don’t understand that. If those people who see her are choosing to self harm, they are dealing with far deeper issues than just watching her on social media. Trust.
She said she continued to struggle with the self-harm, PTSD, and the accompanying anxiety and depression that comes with PTSD, and Phil asked why she thought she could call herself an advocate if she struggled so much.
Well, that was the first thing he said that made zero sense and proves he has very little personal experience with mental health struggles. You can easily be an advocate and have moments of struggle within yourself. You don’t have to be “perfect” or “cured” to be an advocate, to be understanding and compassionate for others. In fact, if you think you’re “perfect” or “cured”, you must be one strange advocate, because no one is perfect and you can’t cure or rid yourself of your humanity so . . . that’s some fake bullshit. If you think you have to have never struggled at all to be an advocate, than you’re really fucking stupid.
In the same clip, they were speaking about the influence she may or may not have on people. The woman says she gets many people who message her and tell her that her confidence with her online persona has helped them see a counselor, talk more about their struggles, e.t.c, you know the deal. Phil responds with this exact quote:
“But you understand, my point of view is, mental illness of any form is nothing to be ashamed of, but neither is it something to celebrate”.
Well fuck me, let me sit in a hole of pity over my “illness” and be afraid to be proud of who I am, how I am, how I act, and my quirks. Fucking God FORBID we embrace this portion of our HUMANITY. Oh, the HORROR.
In my very experienced opinion, it is something to celebrate.
In his very professional opinion, these “illnesses” are proven biochemical and neurological, well, defects. You wouldn’t celebrate someone’s terminal illness, right? Than let’s certainly not celebrate the diversity of the human mind and the human condition. That would be horrific.
It’s something to celebrate to me because it shows there are multitudes of ways to experience this reality. It shows people deal with pain and life in different ways. It shows that the human mind is much more complex and real and human than we will ever know. That, to me, is fascinating, and worthy of celebration.
And just because we can celebrate it, doesn’t mean that’s invalidating the struggle. If anything, it helps prove that struggles can make you stronger.
Does that mean I agree with this woman, this Emily? No. I don’t disagree with her either. If she feels free and content with herself by posting these things, fine. I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not her.
If you want something to talk about for #MayMentalHealthCultMindsetMonth, why not talk about the diversity of how our brains react to this life we live? Because that’s essentially what’s happening: life is a traumatic experience in itself and we all have different ways of dealing with that. If you want to believe that makes you defective, be my guest. Seems kind of self-defeating if you ask me.
I think I’ll go put on a party hat and grab some Whiskey Sours for Thoth and I.