A Critique of the Genre of ‘Mental Health Writing’ | Part Two
Tristan Cross
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Thanks for examining these things in such detail. I can relate to many of them in a variety of ways. For instance I attending grief counseling after a serious knee injury that I eventually fully recovered from, but identifying with others about their physical and emotional pain along with limited mobility and lifestyle changes encouraged me to be lazy, use pain (that didn’t exist) as an excuse to do things I didn’t want to do, or accept long-term lifestyle changes that I did not need to concede. I felt as if most of the world had no idea what I was dealing with so I needed to fit in with the few people who could understand thus taking on the burdens of 20 strangers as my own. In retrospect it was very unhealthy for me. I found this point of yours very relatable. Secondly the vagueness and unscrupulous use of two common words, “depression” and “anxiety” is extremely troubling. Like you explained there is a high and expected level of anxiety accompanied with financial troubles for existence. I’ve long found the expression, “I’m so depressed today.” to be troubling. I’ve misused the word with great regret, but no one want’s to hear, “I’m having a bad day.” just doesn’t have the same ring, and for this reason with encounters with counselors or psychiatrists I always as them to define those two words specifically for our conversation. Lastly, on that note, when dealing with these situations I have to ponder what kind of question is it to ask ME, “do you suffer from depression,” or “are you depressed.” If I went to the doctor with a cough they would not simply as ME if i had lung cancer.

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