People are often told to speak up if they are having struggles or problems. But what is the point of opening up to others if you are met with the whole others have it worse trope. But, for me, what is even worse than being told others have it worse, or I’m lucky, or that I should quit complaining, is being met with complete silence and indifference. Being met with silence is by far the worst for me. I’ve experienced it many times in my life, even from my own family.
I don’t know how to read someone going silent on me when I tell them something. Do you think I am a liar? Are you too heartless to say even “I’m sorry you’re hurting”? Are you too dumb to know how to react? Do you just not care? Do you think I am stupid? Or do you not know how to communicate? Or are you just being rude? Do you think I’m overblowing the problem? All of this is going through my head all at the same time when I confess my problems to people and I’m met with a stone wall of silence. I already suffer in silence for a lot of the struggles with my mental illness. Have since my teenage years. When I open up to you, I often do so because I crave feedback.
I know I appear weak in many people’s eyes just for talking about my problems. But, I have probably appeared weak, odd, eccentric and weird to everyone I have ever met since childhood. “I am the weirdo” to quote Fairuza Balk from “The Craft.” Some probably thought I was weird for having emotions other than anger or lust as a man. Many have thought it weird that I take pride in being well read and active in seeking knowledge. I never understood why it was cool to be stupid and immature.
Others think I’m weird for caring about others and humanity as a whole. I cringe every time I see one of these “the importance of not giving a ####” articles, videos, and books. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to most people that the reason they live mediocre lives, are stuck in dead end jobs, with dead end relationships, have mediocre leaders in government, have mediocre bosses, live paycheck to paycheck, and never getting better is because they don’t care enough, certainly they don’t care enough to attempt to change things.
I’ve tried many times to change myself for the better. Sure I have failed at most of those attempts, but at least I have gleaned some bits of wisdom and some interesting experiences from those endeavors. I may still be mentally ill, but I can manage it pretty well, better than the majority of people. I may not be in good physical health, but at least I’m still fighting to keep some maintenance and stability. I will probably never be rich, unless by some act of God this blog and my writings get picked up by some group who wants to pay me for work I’ve done, sometimes at great personal expense, for years. I refuse to give up. I refuse to stop caring about humanity, nature, my friends, my family, my neighbors, etc. Asking me to stop caring is the same as asking a fish to stop swimming. Caring about others and trying to provide insight and assistance through my own personal experiences living as a man with mental illness is what I do. It’s who I am. It’s my Definite Chief Aim, according to Napoleon Hill. Or my Massively Transformative Purpose, according to Peter Diamandis.
Even if by some miracle of medical science I do get cured of mental illness, or at least get the symptoms knocked down enough they no longer affect my lifestyle, I’m still going to find ways to use my mind, my knowledge, and my compassion for others to make life more bearable and meaningful to others.