talking about mental health… and not.

So i’m sharing this thing… i do have thoughts about it. My simplistic interpretation is that it’s relating the different ways we do and don’t speak about our mental health stuff, that there’s mega stigma around doing that, while other sorts of issues not so much. Which i totally see and experience for sure.

But i wanted to add another thought to this. It’s not this simple.

[PHOTO DESCRIPTION: a four-panel black and white line drawing cartoon depicting 4 different interactions between 2 people. The first says “WHEN WE BREAK A BONE:”, and shows the breakee excitedly telling a smiling friend “sign my cast!”. The 2nd panel says “WHEN WE GET A BAD CUT:”, and has the injured person excitedly telling a slightly shocked looking person “Check it out! 12 stitches!” The 3rd panel says “WHEN WE GET THE FLU:” and we see what looks like a Facebook update saying “I just threw up over everything I own. I need an old priest and a young priest.”, and there are 21 “likes”; and the 4th panel reads: “WHEN WE STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES:” and one person says to another whose arms are crossed “hey.”]

One of the things that i notice about this particular graphic which continues to stick in my head is that the other three things are temporary. i get that sometimes dealing with mental health stuff is temporary too, but there’s something more than just the stigma around mental health going on, i think. There’s also this stuff around when you get stitches, break your arm, get the flu, etc, these are mostly (sometimes not though) temporary situations which will mend in time (again, sometimes not, and/or there can be long term effects of these injuries). But it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax when what you got going on is NOT temporary, is NOT going away, is NOT something you can necessarily “share” with others. If that makes sense.

Things look pretty different when you can’t put a socially appropriate end-date on your healing, or when you’re not actually healing at all, or when this is how things will be forever. This is what i deal with as someone with chronic, degenerative health stuff paired with head injury trauma and ADD. Talking about this stuff isn’t wow stitches which will heal! sign my cast which will be taken off soon! look i just blew my dinner everywhere this one time but soon i’ll feel fine!

Anyways, not debating or disagreeing with anything in here, or comparing disabilities, just offering some additional thoughts to this particular representation as someone who deals with mental health stuff, long term chronic pain stuff, and the regular bumps n bruises type illnesses and happenings; and that in none of the reposts i’ve seen of this has anyone talked about the nature of the other 3 things that were chosen.

Perhaps some food for thought?

2 thoughts on “talking about mental health… and not.

  1. Thanks. I didn’t realise that difference between panel 4 and the rest, and it’s indeed an important difference. As a comparison to corroborate your point: People missing a leg will also find social stigma (albeit somewhat different).

  2. Pingback: Keeping your mind healthy at university. | The UGlos Psychological Sciences Blog

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