As a person who lives with mental illness, there is a lot of trash people say that makes me either roll my eyes or feel the edges of a rage blackout start to close in. In no particular order, here’s crap I hate. Please feel free to share your pet peeves with me, too, on Facebook or on Twitter.
“Don’t worry about it/so much.”
Oh! That’s so cool! I have had anxiety disorder my entire life, but it has never occurred to me to just STOP worrying about something. What a simple fix! Done! I’m all better. God, do I feel like an idiot for not trying this before. Thank you!
“Have you tried yoga/deep breathing/essential oils/exercise?”
Yoga: What a great opportunity for silence to really let my brain go wild with horrible thoughts. Also, am I doing this right? Holy crap, I am so not doing this right. This is just another thing that is awful. Deep breathing: Oh god. Wait, how do we breathe again? Holy crap, why do I never think about how breathing is the thing that keeps us alive? And now I feel like I can’t. Ugh… this makes me realize how rapid my breathing usually is. Will this make me pass out? Life is awful. Essential oils: NOPE. Exercise: Fine. Yes. If I put on a podcast and go for some exercise, I can get out of my brain for a while and tire myself out. But wait. Slow down. This rapid breathing and racing heart makes me think of panic attacks. Oh shit. AM I having a panic attack? Two miles from my house?
“Just think about something else!”
Okay. Which thought should I move onto? The ones that inspire panic? The ones that inspire sadness? Maybe the ones that remind me all the horrors that have happened, might happen, could ever happen in the entire world to anyone at any time? There’s not some secret compartment of cheer and calmness in my brain and I’m just too dumb to access it. Here is literally the only thought that calms me, EVER: Life is utterly meaningless. There are 100 billion galaxies and I am a speck of dust in one of them. Nothing matters. You think that’s too dark/not true? Back off, yo, because THAT is the something else I can cling to.
“Think happy thoughts! Go to your happy place! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!”
My happy thought is that I am smart enough, in enough therapy, and medicated enough to not actually give a shit about this meaningless advice. Also, please get over your obsession with happiness. It’s annoying.
“Everything is fine/will be fine.”
Yes, only because I do the hard work of worrying obsessively about stuff. Oh, is that irrational? NO KIDDING. Also, look around. Tons of stuff is not fine. It is SEVERELY not fine.
“This too shall pass.”
Fine. Maybe. But once it passes, the next horrible thing raises its hand and gets called in, forever and ever and ever. Also, do you know what doesn’t pass? DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. It will wax and wane. I will be treated. I will never be cured. So thanks for the reminder that it won’t actually pass.
And my personal least favorite:
“Choose to be happy/not worry.”
Well, aren’t you superior. You just CHOOSE happiness and calmness. How nice for you. You’re right—I am obviously choosing to be miserable. My alleged “illness” is really just a moral failing. This is just like how people choose to have cancer or any other illness. God, why can’t they just get over it? I am so glad to understand now that I can just decide to be better and BE BETTER. This is revolutionary.