Sorry to disappoint you, but if you didn’t catch the sarcasm in the headline of this article, you’ve been clickbaited.
Why? Because I need to talk to the people who read these articles, and the people who write them.
There is no one-size-fits-all cure to your mental health condition. (If there were, I, with my BA in English, would certainly not have it.) Medication helps some people. Talk therapy helps others. Self-therapy can be helpful, too.
And for some people, simple changes to environment, health, and self-care can drastically improve their mental health.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of those people. Everyone knows you should try exercise to help with your mental health – if you can get out of bed. Everyone knows you should meditate – if you can stand to be alone with yourself for ten minutes. Everyone knows you should be kind to your body – if you think your body even deserves kindness.
The countless articles listing 5 Easy Steps to Absolutely Reverse Your Mental Illness Forever… are all bullshit. They talk down to those of us with a mental health condition.
Here’s what I’d like the people that write those articles to understand.
- Speak to us. Twenty percent of the people reading your article will be experiencing a mental health condition (1); talk to us. Making us feel like we are heard and we matter is so important. If you are writing an article about the feeling of stress, or the feeling of depression, you need to make it damn clear that you’re not speaking to those of us with a mental health condition.
- We are not all in the same place. Mental illnesses, per the DSM-5, are defined by how much they effect our daily lives. Some of us work full-time and support a family, but we’re struggling to hold it all together. Some of us have lost our jobs and, most days, don’t have the energy to get out of bed. You need to acknowledge this wide spectrum – or at least make your audience clear.
- We know. We’ve heard this advice before. Don’t say “just try exercising”; ask us if we have.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Every time we read an article like 5 Things That Will Totally Cure You Forever, knowing that we’ve tried each of them and are still lost, we think we’ve failed. You reinforce that we are not normal, because if we were normal, these things would cure us.
- Tell us where to get help. All you need to do is put a line or two in there: “If your mental health is affecting your quality of life, please speak to family, friends, or a medical professional. If you have a friend or loved one with a mental health condition, please reach out to them and make sure they’re OK.” Including a crisis line can help, too.
What else do you need the people who write these articles to know about you? Let me know in the comments, or by replying to this thread.
And hey, by the way: no matter where you are in your journey, I see you. I hear you. You matter. Your experiences matter. I hope you have a treament plan, a support system, and some healthy coping mechanisms. Beyond that, I just hope you have a good day today, and know that you ARE loved.