*It’s Mental Health Awareness Week*
I was doing my regular head conversation thing and I thought about how some people may say that I “got over” my Social Anxiety (as in the level and intensity that it was when I was younger). As if I grew out of it. As if it was a silly childish phase like tantrums and crazy hairstyles.
People with mental health difficulties, illnesses or disorders don’t one day just “get over it“.
They can get better.
They can even be cured altogether.
They can be healthier.
They can learn to cope or manage.
They can change their mindset and relationship with their illness/disorder.
But they don’t “get over it“. I don’t like that language at all.
The reason why I don’t like that language is because it belittles their struggle. It says, “well a better, stronger, smarter, older person could have handled it better or avoided it altogether.” It gives energy to the shitty narrative that mental health problems are only for the weak or emotional and sensitive ones among us.
False. False. Fucking false. (Excuse my language)
That’s called stigma, guys. That’s what holds people back from getting help or speaking up. And it’s this kind of language that allows the stigma to continue.
I loved something that someone said the other day,
“We all talk about wanting society to change, but we are society.”
That blew my mind. Yes, we are society. We are the thoughts, the values, the rules, and the systems. We get to decide what society is. And so, we can’t allow it to be shitty without first looking at ourselves. At how we talk, what we believe in, and how we treat our fellow living organisms.
So no, I didn’t get over the crippling Social Anxiety that used to stop me from eating in public, attending parties, seeing my friends, sharing myself with people, doing anything out of the house, or finding love. I didn’t get over my problems with sleeping or eating. I’ve worked hard and struggled and felt a lot of pain on my journey to being the person I am today.
You don’t get to say that I, or anyone else, has “got over it” as if it were some small, childish, self-inflicted, silly thing. Don’t you dare minimise it like that.
I’ll end this rant now. But please don’t say ignorant nonsense like “oh, I’m so glad you got over your anxiety” or something else ridiculous like that. Language matters. It really does. Language is how we communicate and how we communicate dictates how we connect, love, share, and craft the world we live in. Our society is what it is based on language and beliefs.
Choose your words wisely, they carry more weight than you know.
Especially for someone who has had to battle their own mind every damn day just to hear you say, “get over it“.
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
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