Mental Health “Advice”

[Tw mental health, ableism]

This one is something that really bugs me, mostly because the people dishing it out probably feel like they’re being helpful, but it can be harmful as fuck. 

I found this perfect example of what I mean:

Now, you might be thinking, come on TJ, it’s just a bit of harmless joshing about getting your shit done. And absolutely it can be read like that.

However, I suffer from an anxiety that makes it impossible for me to leave my house at times. And days when I am that bad, I see posts like this and feel like the worst sort of failure, which doesn’t help anything.

And yes, it’s not even directed at me, but the fact is, it’s there and it’s visible and that’s all my anxiety needs.

That’s not to say sitting down and getting on with things isn’t valuable advice for writers, even writers with anxiety. There are days I do manage to sit down and win the battle with the noise in my head long enough to get some words on the page. Those days are exhausting.

I see it a lot in writing circles, because writing is often by nature a solitary, indoor activity. Gentle reminders to get up and walk about, drink more water, have a snack are great, because we have a habit of forgetting things like that.

Telling someone the reason they’re depressed is because they haven’t been out the house today doesn’t help. 

A lot of this advice is the same, but it’s the way it’s worded that can make the difference. Even if you don’t mean it as a dig at people who struggle, and I’m sure Myke didn’t in the tweet above, be aware that your words can have impact beyond what you mean.

Writers of all people should know this: you’re supposed to make your intent clear. 

So be gentle, please. I’ve lost enough days because my anxiety latches on to some “advice”. 

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