Quick Thought #19 – Loneliness and Toxic Positivity

Quick Thought #19 – Loneliness and Toxic Positivity

I don’t think that’s it. Not completely anyway. I think the real damage social media has done is to make toxic positivity popular. For every person celebrating their “good vibes only” lifestyle, there are at least 2-3 people who have lost a friend because they’ve been cut out by someone unwilling to be with them in their pain.

After all, if the goal is to eliminate all the negative people in your life, where do people go when they are in pain, grieving, or simply need support?

Nothing makes you lonelier than having no one to turn to during those times, and, increasingly, the message we are getting is to aspire to be that uncaring towards people in need.

It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

Even when there are things in the world that I do not have the power to change, I use my own words to remind myself that there are things I CAN do. I can look after the people around me. I can add my voice to support mental health, survivors, and marginalized groups. I can find ways to contribute to making the world a better place in some small ways while also encouraging others to do the same.

This also serves as a great reminder to myself that writing here about these topics is never a waste. I just found some hope by going back and reading what I wrote. Who knows who else might read these words and find a little hope too? That is another small thing I can do that is more useful than wallowing in my anxiety.

Why I Don’t Tell People I’m Struggling Either

Why I Don’t Tell People I’m Struggling Either

When Laura talks about the reactions she’s afraid of getting she is 100% correct. A big part of why I hesitate often to tell people when I’m struggling, feeling incredibly anxious, depressed, or just mentally out of sorts is because I absolutely do not want to hear about how many other people are struggling worse. I already know there are a lot of people struggling. People who don’t have the resources I do, don’t have the support I do, with poor physical health issues or being a part of an underprivileged group, etc. I know, and I understand that I am privileged to have the things that I do and the tools to try and take care of myself that others do not.

And yet, my struggles are still struggles. If I am telling you about them it’s because I need someone to know. I need to be heard. I need to explain what is happening in my own head to someone who will listen to me. I am not negating anyone else’s struggle by talking about my own. Please understand when I, or someone else you know, comes to you and tells you that they are struggling with our mental health, it has likely taken all of our energy just to gather up the courage to tell anyone, so when you deflect like this it’s devastating to us. We carry these heavy, heavy, burdens with us every single day of our lives and we simply need someone to recognize them and maybe help us a little bit every now and again.

The Truth Is, We Aren’t OK and Probably Won’t Be For Awhile

The Truth Is, We Aren’t OK and Probably Won’t Be For Awhile

So, what do we do? We can definitely take advantage of the suggestions made by Lindsey Holmes in that HuffPost link above. We can also acknowledge that without available therapists, many of us are going to have to do the best we can for ourselves and each other. We are going to have to muddle through this, and the only way to muddle through is by supporting each other. No, we are not therapists and we shouldn’t really try to be. But, we can be human beings who care enough about other humans to offer support. Whether that be in person, through text or calls, on social media, etc. we can all offer something to each other. We can all share our stories and our struggles because right now there’s simply no excuse for anyone to feel like they are struggling alone.

Concentric Circles of Trauma

Concentric Circles of Trauma

No, the easiest way to break up those circles, as any kid who threw rocks into the water can tell you, is to throw another rock and create new concentric circles starting from a different location.

Gee, in my metaphor about the trauma I wonder what those other rocks could be? Mental health treatment? Care and support from family and friends? The elimination of stigma attached to trauma?

How about instead of ignoring the circles we started throwing some more useful rocks and disrupting the cycles of trauma that we see repeated over and over again in those circles?

The Many Ways We Invalidate Someone’s Story
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The Many Ways We Invalidate Someone’s Story

We could also talk about abuse here too, and all the ways our stories all invalidated. How many of these have you heard from folks who find out about the abuse you dealt with as a child, or even as an adult:

“You were young, you’ll get over it” (Or you don’t remember it that well)

“Are you sure it was abuse?”

“I can’t imagine (abuser) doing that”

“Why didn’t you just leave?”

“How could you have let that happen?”