First and foremost let me start off by saying “we ALL can use a little bit of outside support“ even for those who perceive therapy isn’t for me! Oh but it is! And if you continue reading I will share how it is for everyone. But I want to tackle why people may think it’s not…the movies and other media have sensationalized mental health and doused it with inaccuracy. It speaks to this perception that to seek support one has have extremely challenging issues like in the movie “Split” which portrays a man who seems to have what people call multiple personalities (might I add to course correct that it’s now called Dissociative Identity Disorder which is a trauma response, but I digress). This individual experienced varying “personalities“- one of which was this superhuman persona scaling the walls and killing people on sight who got in his way. If I saw that, I’d definitely say “yup, that’s not me. I’m not THAT bad!”
Or maybe you have watched the movie American Psycho where a well off business man engages in manipulative behaviors after hours and again… kills everyone on sight. Now this movie has a narrative that people who were “better than” the main character were seen as a threat because of their affluence, and so he took out his competition. If I were to guess, I would suggest his symptoms fall under a personality disorder. But, I don’t have all diagnostic criteria to say it’s xyz. Yet, another opportunity to say “that’s not me because they are crazy”
Now all movies do not portray mental health as a segway to murderous tendencies, and The Soloist with Jamie Foxx depicts this. In this movie, the narration follows the life of a an individual who was diagnosed with Schizoprenia and as a result experienced homeless. It shares that prior to homelessness the supporting actor’s character was formerly a cellist at the elite Julliard for two years before having to disenroll. I can say that as a social worker who has supported the homeless population, this is not an unfamiliar story. Yet, it is not everyone’s story.
So how is it, if all these movies (and these are a select few, you have probably seen others) show mental health in this way and you know you don’t fit that “bill” then how is it for everyone?
So glad you asked!
Have you ever had to make a decision? And maybe that decision was not well received?
Have you ever had to relocate, buy a house, find an apartment last minute, lost housing at any point?
Have you ever been in a RELATIONSHIP?! Talk about adjusting to someone who’s upbringing and way of navigating their world is different (even in the slightest) of yours.
Have you ever called out of work for a mental health day? Or, have to driven yourself into work because it’s what keeps you together.
Have you experienced the after affects of the financial crisis, I know my gas bill is outrageous even with the same utilization! Let alone losing savings in the stock market or because you had to pull from your personal savings account.
Do you have a family! Not all families are created equal and sometimes families can be a challenge and place a lot of pressure on you to perform.
I could go on and on about how talking with someone unbiased and nonjudgmental can be a good thing. Life happens and it can be overwhelming, lonely, and sometimes we feel misunderstood by the world around us. Talking to someone supports working through these feelings.