Unsolicited – (adj.) not asked for; given or done voluntarily.
I write for pleasure, to educate, and to give those people who suffer from any of the myriad of mental illnesses that I do some hope that you can continue to live your best life. When I share, I share for a purpose. As an advocate, I know that my voice is important – someone out there is struggling, someone out there is wondering if any normalcy can come out of this journey, someone out there is losing hope.
Advocate – (noun) a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
I am so vocal about mental wellness, taking stock of your environment and discovering potential triggers, investing in ones self care whatever that may be for you as an individual; I believe in the power of grounding yourself again to begin anew. However, throughout this journey as an advocate, I’ve become victim to unsolicited comments and advice.
Look, if I wanted feedback on the things I think, I’d pay to go see a licensed therapist, someone who actually has the background to sit there and evaluate and talk me through half the shit that runs through my mind.
A friend and I just had this discussion about the disrespect shown by people and how the internet has somehow fostered this idea that you can say whatever you want to people and somehow justify it in one’s mind as warranted. It’s not. If I had known that me sharing my struggles meant that I’d be subjected to more people with their own advice about how I should deal with things, I would’ve never started this. I would’ve never opened myself up to talking about living with a mental illness. However, I would be doing such a disservice to those who might find some solace in what I write, might find some courage to speak up about their own fight, or could just be reading to become more informed.
So daily I struggle with posting anything remotely related to my inner thoughts because I know someone is going to say something. I’m well aware that I can be whoever I want to be, I’m aware that I have unhealthy emotional habits; I’ve spent the last 31 years of my life being emotionally disconnected and shut off that my wasband and the many people I’ve dated could probably get together and write a book about how affection and getting me to display any type of emotion was like pulling teeth. I wish I was joking about that, but I’m not, and I’m not ashamed about it. I’m aware that there are parts of my treatment that I don’t follow through with (hello, Happy Light) but unless you sit in my psychiatrist’s office with me and see how open I am with him for the betterment of my health, you all need to have several seats.
Comments like these are why people don’t speak up. Comments like these are why people hide in the dark and wonder if their friends could ever truly understand. Comments like these are hurtful. People who share are not looking for a debate and they surely aren’t looking for unsolicited advice. People like me are sharing and opening up to educate not be belittled. Not to feel shamed back into themselves because the inner turmoils they deal with are being scrutinized by those who couldn’t even begin to understand what it’s like to be us on a daily basis. My journey is not the same as the next person’s and while you might get away with making comments to some of those people, you are actually hurting a lot of other people and could be pushing them steps backwards.
Be mindful of your words – we’re not stupid. We know things could be worse, we know we have the power to be whoever we want to be, we know. It’s just not that easy. Do you think I wouldn’t enjoy to not have my OCD flare up after I’ve gone to check the sliding door three times to make sure I closed it after going out for a smoke? Or having to take pictures of my electrical socket so that I can know that I actually unplugged my flat iron? Or making it down to the street and turning around to go check to see if my car is locked and the window is rolled up? Do you think I wouldn’t enjoy being stable on a consistent basis? To no longer find myself staring down an empty beer bottle because I feel like I’ve failed? To no longer sleep for 24 hours for the same reason? To have the energy to take care of myself, do my laundry, and whatever other chores?
I know I can be whoever I want to be but I know my stability is short-lived and it’s an insult to think that just because I’m stable now, that I will be forever. I’ve lost one career to my illness and while I can vow to never let that happen again, I don’t know what the future holds for me. So excuse me, while I focus on the here and now and try to figure out who I am right at this present moment. Because this time two weeks ago, I struggled to make it out of my bed and to work; my spoons were already gone by lunch.
Be mindful with your words.
Love, peace, & chicken grease.
BITD is a blog designed to educate on mental illness and maintain mental wellness through personal experiences.