I talk to a number of individuals with mental illness. A question that comes up a lot, and for the life of me I can’t think of a good answer, is
why keep going?
This can mean several different things. Why keep taking medication? Why keep going to my therapist?
… Why keep living at all?
I see the argument that many people make is that many people will be sad if the individual does one of these things. The standard “A lot of people will miss you and be sad if you die…”
But what kind of answer is that?
I mean that’s basically saying “You’re in incredible pain, we all know you’re in incredible pain, but we’d like you to stick around in incredible pain because you’re our token ailing person who ‘keeps pushing on’.
I realize this can work. But at the same time I feel like a horrible person using that argument. It’s not constructive. It’s almost belittling the person’s condition by comparing it to other people being “sad”. I mean really… “sad” vs “clinically depressed”…
It all comes back to that weird view of
“Stop doing this! You’re hurting…
I NEED TO NOT BE HURT!
YOU CAN SUFFER AND DIE BUT DON’T HURT ME!”
There’s got to be a better answer than this. And sometimes they’re not terribly hard to find.
But imagine the piss poor state of mind in which you are alive for someone else’s sake.
Also what if that person dies? Is that the red line? “Well, they’re dead so now I won’t make anybody sad”.
In the end I guess what I want people to think about is the meaning in the words they use. Words are important. Semantics are everything. It’s easy to give a procedural answer and feel better about yourself for having “helped” another individual. It’s a lot harder to really look these problems in the face. It’s hard to look into an abyss. It’s hard to look at depression closely because it’s darkness is all enveloping.
There is no light there.
Trite answers really don’t cut it.