I’ve recently re-discovered the blog of a beautiful woman whom I shared some classes with at school. For now, she has asked that I don’t post a link to it yet as she may be considering making changes to the blog. However, I do think that this blog is too good to pass up.
When I first read her posts, I felt the pain and darkness and fear and anger in her writing. She spoke in profound metaphors; her raw, unfiltered, frank depictions of life jumps out of the screen in their candidness.
However, having never experienced depression or anxiety myself at that time of my life, I couldn’t fully empathise. If I was totally honest, I probably fell into the camp that thought all she needed to do was “pull herself together, life is not that hard”.
Rereading these posts, I was staggered by how much of her feelings and descriptions just resonated with me. Some of her experiences were so similar to my own that I instinctively knew that if I ever get to speak to her again, she would get it. She would understand without me having to say a single word. She’s lived through it.
Rereading these posts, furthermore, I was also reminded all at once of my own attitudes and perceptions before my own mental health plummeted. The thoughts at the back of my mind that said “mentally ill” was synonymous with “weak”. The smugness that I was not personally afflicted.
The last couple of weeks I’d spent a lot more time and efforts into sharing my experience. I’d forgotten what ignorance felt like. I perched on my high horse and peered down at the “uneducated, ignorant” people who view mental illnesses with undisguised cynicism.
Though their views and voiced opinions and attitudes may be unpleasant at best and damaging at worst, I realised that I have no right to think badly of those people. I had been in their shoes.
And I can’t say I like being criticised or doubted, but I can say that I understand.
There is a much wider issue here; I realise that it’s not acceptable or even productive to condemn single individuals who gave me grief about having poor emotional health. It’s the lack of exposure and current social norm that leads to the perspectives that they harbour. Yeah, our culture is changing, which is positive for us. One day at a time.