This week, Buzzfeed has been doing a feature all about mental health. As one of the biggest players on the social media network, it is admirable that they would devote so much time to what is still a fairly taboo topic. I have read many of the articles and found their first hand accounts eye opening. I have empathised with many of them. One in four adults suffer with a form of mental health issues and I am sure the objective of media focus like this is to get people to talk about it, to make it less of a taboo. So here it is: I am one of the one in four. I refer to it as “flaws and foibles” in my previous post but in reality it is “depression and anxiety”. It has manifested itself in many ways over the years. The one (somewhat) relieving thing about my thirties has been getting better at recognising the shape of my mental health; the triggers, the peaks and the troughs. It has most certainly been a take out of 2015. It hasn’t removed it (in fact the “not plain sailing” point in my previous post is a nod to the frequency and intensity of those peaks and troughs this year), but I have learned to accept it and to be ok with not always being ok, and embrace that I can be a bit “weird”.
So what has triggered this post? There is every chance that I am in the midst of a trough (learning I still haven’t mastered: think before you hit send/publish), but it has been triggered by something on Buzzfeed. If you ever read Buzzfeed articles, they are littered with things like “15 ways humankind failed in 2015”. They are, essentially, a way of creating quick content from the content of others. They posted an article called: 21 Times Tumblr Users Helped You Feel Less Alone, as part of their mental health week. It was accompanied by a picture of a pretty purple post it note saying “you owe yourself the love that you give to other people”. I read it, thought “that’s nice” and moved on. However, it is now 3am and that pretty purple post it note is bothering me. (Insomnia!)
Buzzfeed: you did a great thing, focusing on mental health. However, this is LAZY content administration. I reflected on the quote. The quote sits right for some situations. You could say this to someone in a shitty relationship. Or who has a friend who is toxic. However, in my experience, this quote does not help you feel “less alone”, as the title of the article suggests. Some people (I am being careful not to generalise) suffering from anxiety or depression would look at that quote and deem they deserve nothing. In their dark days they rule themselves to be terrible sons and daughters, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, employees and friends. In their dark days they would conclude that they deserve no love, because they are so terrible at demonstrating or feeling that love for others.
I KNOW that mental health is unique to the individual. I have seen that first hand. So my mini rant may be irrelevant. Somebody else may have found great solace in the pretty purple post it. However, my point is more this: bravo Buzzfeed for highlighting mental health. Some of your articles over the last week have been superb. Shame on you, however, for delivering lazy content by using a snipping tool on tumblr. You undermine all of your well thought through work with what is essentially a top ten of inspirational quotes, supported by an attractive picture of a pretty purple post it.
Save that for Pinterest.