As much as I love a good meme or ‘Most people won’t share this’ post on social media; I’m not sure how helpful the whole mental health awareness thing is.
It definitely has some positives, but the real message should be around showing compassion and tolerance to everyone – not just people with a clinical diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety.
This goes for those who have mental health problems too – try and be nice. In my experience some people with depression are right horrible bastards (a bit like Ricky Gervais at the beginning of After Life).
I’m currently taking an SSRI anti-depressant called Sertraline. I came off my previous anti-depressant, because, although it was pretty effective at levelling my mood and stopping any suicidal thoughts etc. it proper fucked my memory.
A poor memory is a symptom of anxiety alone, and also some SSRI medication too. Put those two bad boys together and your memory is likely to be proper fucked.
If You Can’t Have Empathy – Have Compassion
Empathy requires some similar experience. If you’ve never had issues with mental health or your memory then it’s hard to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
However, you don’t necessarily need empathy – just have some compassion.
Remember, people are just a product of their environment and genetics; nobody chooses to be stupid, dopey, or weird. I sure as fuck didn’t and wouldn’t be that way if I can help it!
What I really don’t like – is the look of bemusement some people give me when I can’t remember something. Taking the piss is fine, but I just want to chin people when they give me ‘the look of disdain’.
It’s a bit of a vicious circle of –
having a bad memory – and then hating yourself for forgetting stuff – compounded by other people losing it or mocking your for being forgetful.
Just try and be tolerant with people who are different, or specifically in my case, a bit eccentric + have memory problems. And definitely don’t get angry, especially in an environment like an office.
“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
How to Not be a C*nt
- Feedback in private & praise in public. Don’t be one of those passive aggressive office-wankers who likes to feedback mistakes in front of everyone
- Don’t slag people off unless they’ve done something horrendous
- Accept people as they are
- Don’t make fun of people in front of an audience or people you don’t know very well – that’s when banter goes too far IMO
- Have patience with people – especially those who have issues with their memories as this can be a symptom of anxiety and/or SSRIs
By the way – I think it’s fine to tell a depressed person to stop complaining. Depression is as contagious as man flu; if someone is constantly complaining and blaming other people for all their problems – please – tell them to shut up. Unfortunately this often leads to the victim-triad; by being told not to be a victim, people often feel like you’re being unfair; making them even more of a victim. So good luck with that issue.
Stuff that Helps if You Do Have Mental Health Problems
Laugh At Yourself
If you do have mental health problems – I’ve found ‘thoughts of the self’ are often the big issue. Remember not to take life so seriously.
We’re all going to die and nobody will remember us – so fuck it
Thinking of and looking out for other people is actually the best way to stop thinking about yourself. Also, remember that 99.9% people aren’t thinking about you (they’re probably thinking about themselves), so don’t stress about it!
Brainwash Yourself with Positive Music, Videos & People
I listen to a video playlist in the morning, that includes the likes of Jocko Willink, David Goggins and positive affirmations. It’s hard to feel negative after I’ve listened to it. Also – avoid the news! Turn that shite off.
The Youtube Playlist that I listen to is here.
The Logical Way to Think – Isn’t Always the Best Way to Think
Be cynical but don’t suck the joy out of everything with it. Sometimes, it’s best to choose another chain of thought.
For example, it might be helpful to take ownership/accountability of all your problems, even if nothing was really your fault. Fuck playing the victim – that shit never helps.
For example, let’s say you pay a tradesman up front and he doesn’t show up – is that your fault or the tradesman’s?
I don’t think that example explains the concept very well, so if you have 10 mins, watch the video below:
Another, probably better example – if you watch Lord of the Rings thinking “this is made up stupid shite”, then you might be right, but it’s still not a ‘good’ way to think – especially if you’re effecting people around you, who may be enjoying it.
I guess religion and faith is another example – it might not be logical, but if it gives you or other people strength and courage, then let them get on with it.
Remember too, you tend to get back what you ‘put out’ into the world. You can also develop a habit of positive (and negative thinking). Make an effort to be positive everyday and it does get easier!