Through the last several years of my research, talking to various doctors and to those who are living with a mental illness or disorder, I've stumbled across a horrible dilemma. A dilemma that has cost me several friends and has pissed off dozens more, and the dilemma is the amount of misleading, half truth, and sometimes just flat out false information that still holds water throughout the masses. Many of those who reject the science behind mental illnesses and disorders all seem to come from the same social group... the "enlightened new age" folks who completely believe that mental illnesses are nothing more than you having a fucked up perspective about your life. That if you claim to have a mental illness it's because you just aren't trying hard enough or you're not thinking happy thoughts. Pushing the idea that you hold the ability to simply switch off depression and anxiety symptoms, and that couldn't be further from the whole truth....and yet....people continue to peddle this misinformation all over social media and to those they are supposed to be helping. Well, I can tell you now ...that the lies are killing people.
A popular bullshit statement that I have seen several times are posts that encourage people to NOT take their medications, that all they need is "deep rest", a walk in the woods, a warm cup of tea and friendly conversation. This is the most dangerous ideology within the mental health community today. Those things I mentioned are great for combating common stress that we all experience on an everyday basis, but not nearly as strong enough to take on a monster like a chronic mental illness...it just isn't.
I get that people have a tendency to romanticize aspects related to mental illness; making witty sayings that just sound cool and are clever ways to push a particular product or service. The "deep rest" one is my personal favorite. This one just makes me laugh because it is nothing more than a clever tagline. How do I know this? Because I know one of the most prevalent symptoms with major depression particularly is something called PSYCHOMOTOR IMPAIRMENT, and that's when your brain experiences a decrease in functionality and overall activity; making you feel like you cant get out of bed, take a shower, cook food, clean, etc. You simply have an inability to move and you stop responding to the world around you. This common symptom, unfortunately, is ammunition for people to declare that they are feeling such a way because they just need some some rest, and I can say that if it were that easy....mental illnesses wouldn't be killing millions of people every single year. There wouldn't be a need for psychiatric hospitals or doctors, and no need for medication, but that is obviously not the case because all of those things exist. This is one point that I can't get through to the new age, anti-pharma folks...no matter how much scientific evidence you throw at them. They continue to stigmatize medication management to further their ideologies.
Those clever quotes and pictures sound and look beautiful, don't get me wrong, but much of it is just simply not true. This is dangerous people. Period. I can't sit here and say how many irresponsible people throw this crap to those who are suffering in hopes of some how "inspiring" and "motivating" them in some morbid way, shape or form, instead of genuinely looking for long term solutions. It's just easier for them to blame the sufferer or pretend the illness isn't real; minimizing the severity of mental illnesses and inhibiting progresses that are critical to people's recovery and survival. Well I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I implore those who are passionate about this topic to stick to the science and the facts because that is the only thing that will help these people.