Your life is in shambles! Vesuvius is erupting, Atlantis is sinking and Rome is falling! Have no fear though, for you have friends! Ah friends, your saving grace no matter how bad the situation. Depression? Anxiety? Bi-Polar?! No need to seek help from a professional when you can just throw it all on your closest friend!
By this point I hope you all have picked up on my sarcasm.
I’m going to make this post as clear as I can for those who may feel like they are justified in doing this.
YOUR FRIENDS ARE NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THERAPY!
Scream it out so the people in the back can hear!
I am so sick and tired of hearing people talk about their problems and then act as though their friends have to fix them. No matter how you spin things, your friends are not responsible for your mental health and placing that kind of pressure on them is just inconsiderate and contributes to a vicious cycle where no one progresses. It’s not their place to fix you. Your mental health is your responsibility, whether you have a diagnosed disorder or if you’re just having a bad time.
You’re in a rough spot right now and that sucks, I feel for you, but don’t blame your friends when they don’t know how to help you despite their best efforts. I often find that people who rely on friends over therapy are the kind of people who never ask their friends how they’re doing.
“But Toby, this person needs help,”
I agree! This person also needs to understand that their friend may have things going on as well and if their friend can’t help them then they may need to seek professional help.
I feel like we have entered a day and age where the internet has convinced us that the solution to our problems is to roll ourselves into a blanket burrito, eat our favourite food and have our friends comfort us. Sometimes that isn’t enough though. We need to stop lying to people and telling them that “all you need is love” and actually start teaching people the proper way to handle their mental illnesses. It just leaves these people feeling broken and disappointed when it doesn’t work.
No more of this “aw muffin” or “tell your depressed friends they are beautiful!” and have more “Don’t be afraid of seeking therapy” or “encourage your friends to find professional help if they need it”. I was once the kind of person to constantly fret about my friends problems, including things I knew I had no business in. Even when I was going through my own breakdown I just kept it to myself and listened to my friends problems. I felt as though if I didn’t put myself to the side for others then I was a bad friend. I learned.
I only help those who are willing to listen and help themselves. If they come asking for advice but they aren’t willing to do anything about it other than worry I feel less inclined to push for that person. It took me a long time to realize this and I spent many sleepless nights stressing.
Getting help for a mental illness is tough, which is why many people reach out to friends before going to any professionals. They’re accessible and trustworthy people who care and you know they won’t judge you. Therapists are strangers, the unknown. A friend can only help so much, there may come a point where they can’t be of much use. It’s not their fault, they weren’t trained to deal with mental health issues and their love can only go so far.
As a whole we need to revamp these “fluffy” and almost romanticized views of depression, anxiety and other various disorders. Flower crowns, pizza and netflix can only take you so far and in some cases may even make the situation worse. Get help if you need it and don’t feel ashamed in doing so. I know it can be scary, trust me I’ve been there and done that, but it helps. Find a good therapist to start out, no meds or scary unknown treatments, just someone who will listen and try alternative ways to help you handle your situation.
There you have it. The first of many posts I will probably make regarding mental health. In all honesty it’s a really important topic to me and I want to blog more about it but I think I’ll keep it at this for today. Before I sign off I do want to make one thing very clear; I used the term “fix” a lot in this post and I want to clarify this. Just because you need to”fix” something doesn’t make you any less of a complete person. You are important and cared about and having a problem doesn’t take away from any of that. Your rough edges don’t define you and they shouldn’t stop you from seeing who you are. Everyone has cracks, regardless of whether or not they on the surface, there is no shame in needing help to handle yours.
Till next time folks, stay Tobly awesome
I know I will.