The other day I was watching a daily Landvlog as I try to do most days. For those of you who may have missed my previous articles discussing Michael Landsberg and his Not for Profit organization #sicknotweak.com please feel free to check him out on Facebook or Twitter if you haven’t already and to also learn more about what this incredible man has done for people who suffer with a mental illness you can visit my blog site: http://www.youareenough712.wordpress.com to read what he has done for me personally (“My Evening With Michael Landsberg”; April 30, 2019 and “A Reminder To Keep Fighting”; May 2, 2019).
So as I said a moment ago I was recently watching one of Michael Landsberg’s daily Landsvlogs and although every time I watch one something usually resonates with me, but the other day was one of those days where I felt like he was talking directly to me. He spoke about something that happens to me often, something that can be quite triggering for me, something so innocent and most often coming from a good, kind-hearted place yet can also be quite harmful to someone like me.
He spoke about a woman he knows who recently tried to take her own life and who thankfully survived but she is now dealing with the pressure and guilt from those who care about her who keep asking “are you better?” It may seem like any ordinary question for many but to someone struggling with a mental illness, their first thought may be that if I say “no” then I will let you down, or I will disappoint you or maybe even worse, you will walk away.
I know it seems confusing for people to understand because they “can’t see the answer” right in front of them and maybe they just want to see what they want to see or hear what they want to hear because that gives them hope, but in reality it is just adding more pressure and guilt on to your friend, parent, child, coworker or even acquaintance, and it is most definitely keeping the person who is suffering from being true to themselves. It only adds further to the stigma and our need to wear a mask because it’s so much easier than letting you down, it’s so much easier than disappointing you and definitely so much it’s easier than watching you walk away.
So I guess the best advice Michael echoes in his Landsvlog is that you should never stop asking “how are you doing?” or “how are you feeling?” as long as it’s not with the expectation that the answer will be a positive one or that you will not feel disappointment or frustration if the answer is a negative one. He also reminds us that our tone can make all the difference between allowing someone to unmask or feel the need to lie because you know by their tone that they don’t really want to hear the truth especially when it feels more like a rhetorical question. I have personally felt that tone of “hey, feeling better?” or “you seem like you’re doing better?” or “you look better?”
I want nothing more than to one day tell you “I’m feeling awesome!” and really mean it, but for now I will continue to be as truthful and open and honest as I have been even if it means letting you down, disappointing you or watching you walk away. #itsoknottobeok