- Art by Nikoloz Bionika (check out more of it here)
- 8:59 P.M.
- Mood: anticipatory.
I’ll always be the first to admit that I’m pretty messed up.
But, I at least feel a bit less sucky about myself when I remember that I’m not the only one. This world is actually spilling with equally messed up (or more messed up) people. Like, look beside you. Right now. You may even be sitting beside one. Don’t be afraid, though. You’re probably one of us, so you’ll fit right in.
“One of us! One of us!”
That’s totally fine, though. To be honest, I’m pretty sure the world would be a lot less interesting without as many of us as there is. ‘Tis a necessary evil to struggle in the unique ways that we do. We’re at least united in the fact that we all need a little help (or a lot of it, like me) sometimes to get by in the world more comfortably. Namely, we become united in our weekly trips to our therapists.
Now, seeking mental health help from a professional is no small feat, mind you. You’re letting a stranger peer into your life, your mind, your repressed past, and the crevices between them. I mean, at that rate, they’re almost getting a look at your damn soul. Talking to a therapist can be a very intimate experience, and it’s not always easy to become comfortable with even the thought of that experience. Not to mention the fact that there’s this weird stigma about seeing a therapist, as if it renders you “truly insane” or “weak” (because venting and actually trying to work past your troubles is so taboo, am I right?).
So, I’m telepathically sending a round of applause to all that have said, “Fuck it, I need some guidance!”, and went for it in spite of all of this. Now, you’re set up with your designated therapist, and you’re really hoping for some answers as to what’s causing the problems you’re having, and what could help. But, your therapist actually seems skeptical that there’s anything legitimately going on, taking on the “I’ve heard this all before” tone, and making you feel like you have to prove that you’re truly suffering.
You should not have to “prove” your mental illness. You already struggle enough with feeling like the odd one out, and feeling uncomfortably spotlighted.
I thought more about how desensitized it seems some (not all, of course) of the mental healthcare systems in the world have become to actually diagnosing, treating, and being compassionate towards mental illnesses. The Bipolar Disorder documentary below (sent and produced by Alisa Posey, or @pocketfullofpozies on Instagram) was especially the icing on the cake of what I was thinking:
Even though the laws/conditions that Ealey’s father talked about in regards to the mental health clinician may be outdated now, I was taken aback when he’d said that the clinician rolled his eyes when looking to diagnose his son, and said that there was nothing wrong unless either Ealey was hurting himself or others.
I mean, whaattt? WHAT do you MEAN? Because you can’t physically see the effects of someone’s mental illness, you write it off? I mean, of course mental illnesses can’t be seen. People walk through the world all the time, silently suffering, and they don’t want to say anything about it out of the fear of putting people off. Then, these people pour their hearts out to these professionals…just to get rejected? I mean, what do you expect, mental health professionals? We’re rarely in the middle of a mental breakdown when we come see you, but that doesn’t mean none of us have had one just the other day!
I know that there’s the fear of running into someone who “acts like they have mental illnesses for attention”. And, to be honest, there are people out there who wrongly use mental illnesses as a fad to look “edgy” or like a “mysterious loner”. But, that shouldn’t mean that a mental health clinician loses the compassion to help those of us who truly need it. If your compassion is conditional, why even be in the field?
I know that there are SO MANY PEOPLE who don’t feel like they have anyone to turn to, even when they have a therapist, and that makes me incredibly sad. There’s always been this weird thing about either ignoring someone who’s going through a struggle, or writing their struggles off as “attention-seeking”. But now, it’s apparently started to make it’s way into our professional support systems. We need to talk about this.
If we’re asked to seek help, or if we are pushed to the point of seeking it, then the last thing we need is a professional giving us the side-eye. Just truly acknowledge us and the fact that going through our struggles sucks a LOT for us right now.
We’re not out here to be party-poopers and soul-suckers. We’re not even out here to look for anyone’s stamp of certification of our mental illnesses or life problems. We’re just here for our right to have our feelings validated,
even when you can’t see them.