The ‘Easy Fix’ culture of Positivism and Positivity.
Well, there’s a title. The ‘Easy Fix’ culture of Positivism and Positivity. So is this blog likely to be controversial? I hope not, perhaps ‘observational’ would be a better word.
You see, when you log into social media, you can find that you are bombarded with lovely memes telling you how easy and better life would be if only you could think positively. On the face of it, this is a sensible message. The problem is that people with some mental health issues such as anxiety or depression will just stare at the screen and ask ‘How?’
There can be times when some of these messages are inaccurate, even unhelpful. They can even deny the validity of your mental health problem by making the solution sound so simple.
Here is a typical example:
On the face of it, this may seem good advice. After all, exercise is good for you, so is fresh air and nature. Anti-depressants can be habit forming and have significant side effects.
But the language of this meme is absolute, and it contains implied criticism that will only reinforce negative emotions. I am not in favour of medication, but it can be a life saver. For many, their medication allows them to live a fairly normal life.
If you are depressed or suffer from severe anxiety, there are days when just getting out of bed is a victory, and going out and doing some shopping can seem like climbing a mountain.
This meme is essentially saying that not taking pills and going for a walk will cure depression. No, I’m sorry, it won’t. It may be part of a prevention programme, or part of a cure, but only a part.
Here is another one:
To someone with a mental health issue, this is like a sentence of doom. They have a mental health problem, that means they have unwanted thoughts, and now they are reading that their unwanted thoughts will come true!
This is really unhelpful. For example, if you are having suicidal thoughts, this meme tells you that you will kill yourself unless you ‘turn that frown upside down’. It is like someone with depression being told to cheer up.
Thinking positively is great, going for walks in the forest are really good. So is Yoga, Meditation, going out with friends, and so on.
But before you can begin that journey, you have to be in a state of mind where those thoughts and actions start to become a possibility. The journey from those moments when you just want to curl up on the floor is a journey of steps, sometimes small steps. With each small victory, the potential of positivity opens up like a flower. One day you will find that these memes are achievable, that they make sense, but you have to journey to that state of mind first. If you aren’t in that state, then memes like this can just reinforce your sense of failure.
Of course, going to see a professional therapist can help, but there are other ways to help yourself heal. People can and do heal themselves, but sometimes they find the process too difficult. Tha’t when a good professional can help. We aren’t superior beings, just think of us a torch bearers, who can help you find your way out of the maze.