Being positive or optimistic is, on the whole, not a bad thing. I mean, probably. So shut up. Of course, there are people out there who are overly positive. Delusionally positive. Too positive for their own good. Positive squared. Etc. But I’m not here to talk about them. They can eff off.
NB: I know there’s something to this. But not being very clever means I’m not sure I’ve conveyed my argument in clear terms. It’s clear to me. But it might not be to you. You can stick this whole thing up my effin’ arse if you prefer.
I wanna talk about the overly positive tone many things about mental health recovery adopt. And look, I get why they’re that way. I’m guilty of it too. After days/weeks/months/years of feeling shit, or not feeling anything, and thinking their hopelessness will last forever. The author suddenly feels good, actually good. Like its old self again. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s sunlight over the hill. There’s a toilet bowl at the end of the stream of piss. End metaphors.
The author realises they might have been wrong. That it’s possible to feel okay. That if they can feel better. So can anyone else. As it turns out, the author is not quite the horrible person they believe themselves to be. Great idea: They’ll tell other people that they can get better! They can make a difference! They want other people to feel better too. And that sentiment is not a bad thing. No. Fuck off. It’s not a bad thing. Shh. So, our author better bloody tell everyone else that it’s possible to feel better.
It’s not a particularly good thing either. It’s an approach that lacks empathy. Plenty of sympathy, sure. But no empathy. You don’t understand, maaan.
Sometimes positivity is the wrong approach. When someone is down about something. Has a negative attitude about some event, or aspect of themself. And you try to argue with them – however calmly or reasonably – that they’re not going to fail or they’re not utterly worthless, or whatever. You’re basically shitting all over and denying the existence of what got them there. In most cases, there’s a reason or reasons for why they’re in that place. Most people don’t just, on a whim, decide that life’s not worth living anymore. Or that they’re hopeless. Or useless. Or… you get the idea. Clever you. Well done.
Think about it. If you believe, not think, believe that everything is hopeless. That there’s no point. And then someone comes along. Says they used to be like you. Tells you that there is a point. Well, what good is that? I mean. Firstly, it sounds like a recruitment proposition that cults make. Secondly, for all intents and purposes, you’re telling them that what’s led them to this state is irrelevant.
Our hypothetical author seems to have forgotten that it felt that way not too long ago. Could they have been reasoned with into thinking that there was a point to anything? Maybe. No. Yes. Whatever. I know I can’t be reasoned with when I’m depressed. And I’m not a special case. This approach is a combination of; “you’ll feel better” and “what have you got to be depressed about“. Trying to force positivity on a depressed person based on your own experience, however sincerely you want them to feel it, is as futile as trying to make a brick float.
Of course, that’s not to say people experiencing mental health problems shouldn’t be supported, or have things written for them to read, or whatever. Because even I’m not so fucking horrible as to believe that. But there’s a right way and a wrong way.
There are about 3459345768349587 different people and consequently 57675465645364564536656 different right ways to help them. So, author. Remember how you felt. What you thought. And ask yourself, what would have actually helped? It’s okay if you don’t know. Or aren’t sure. That’s kinda my point. But there are loads of wrong ways to try and help someone. And one of them is definitely saying something that amounts to; “you’ll feel better“. Sometimes doing nothing might even be better than doing something.
But when you tell someone that they can get out of depression because you did. Then that person finds themself still devoid of hope. How much shittier are they gonna feel? What are they doing wrong? Why are they wrong? Why are they so fucking useless? What’s the point of even trying?
It’s great that people shit all over their depression, even temporarily. But it’s easy to forget how you actually felt in those moments. That the things you’re doing today to keep a toilet bowl under the hot stream of piss that is your life, aren’t even within the realms of
possibility pissibility for many. NB: In that metaphor, “hot stream of piss” is a good thing. Erm. So, in short. Buy depressed people toilets. Oh fuck. I’m so lost.
That’s not to say it isn’t interesting to read about other people’s recovery, what helped them, and their experiences in general. But don’t assume that everyone can do what you can do, you utter cunt! Oh wait. No. Probably shouldn’t have called you a cunt. I’m sorry. Lots of love to you. Kiss. Kiss. Lick.
Positivity isn’t bad. But it should be applied thoughtfully to people who fancy a bath with a toaster. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fuck off and choke on your yoga mat. No! Be nice, Other Alex. Think positive thoughts. Oh for fucks sake. Fuck. Bye!