Dear Influencers, When It Comes To Mental Health, Proceed With Caution
Lives depend on it
So, I’m not one to call out folks outright, unless I’m too drunk to care. Nah, I’m fucking with you!
However, I’ve noticed the questionable deeds of certain “influencers” who feel the intense responsibility to capitalize on “trends” that aren’t so much that, but rather a reminder of the issues that plague more of us than what we would like to admit.
Depression. Suicide. Therapy.
Dealing with that stuff is serious business, and while you might think you’re doing a service by posting pics of exiting the office of your therapist, or utilizing memes from classic movies as a way to celebrate your return to “tending to your emotions” — the truth is that you’re providing a trigger for those who are still grappling with the thought of leaving their beds.
Here’s the thing, I’m the last person to knock anyone’s hustle especially when it’s obviously related to tackling the latest topic of discussion, but there has to be special attention paid to the stuff that may be out of your depth.
If you have a massive platform that lights up the moment your tweet is live — then a lot of attention needs to be paid to delivery because when it comes to mental disorganization, there’s so much more to it than you can possibly imagine.
I was read my rights back in 2012, when a lovely and incredibly talented writer suddenly passed away, and I wrongfully tried to assess “the why” and “the how” of what led to her tragic demise. I basically over-reached in my need to define what could’ve happened to her, without any consideration for those who actually knew her.
That experience taught me a much-needed lesson when it comes to assuming the “expert” role — when it comes to an ultra-sensitive topic that can’t be transferrable because it’s such a personalized hell.
And that’s why I have a terrifically hard time internalizing posts that boast about the privilege of being able to get the help you may or may not require as if it’s really that fucking easy.
First off, I’m not sure how anyone gets to that point where they can even think to take selfies outside of their therapist’s office, but I mean if that’s how you roll, then lucky you!
I just think that if you’re as powerful as you believe, the best way to champion the adherence to weekly check-ups is to maybe provide informational gems for followers who don’t have the access or resources handy for lifesaving measures.
That’s the genuine way to prove to those who hang on your every word, that you really do care, and want them to enjoy the status of “influencers,” who are successful enough to afford the mental care most of us wish we could seamlessly attain.
I’m not going to lie about the fact that I still haven’t dealt with the debilitating symptoms of my childhood trauma, and even through the body dysmorphia and host of other items that have derailed my progression, I remain committed to the never-ending assignment of getting the help I absolutely need.
The triggers are awful and ultimately set me all the way back.
When you read about “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” that’s almost like being kicked in the gut repeatedly, until the blood from your lips turns purple before you lose consciousness. The fact that this ridiculous trend is being taken seriously is disarmingly appalling, and signals just far removed we are from a tangible universe.
And then when you stumble upon the post of an influencer, who commands a mighty audience, and uses the platform to casually share how she’s excited to see her therapist after weeks away, as if those appointments are akin to getting weekly pedicures — that’s also a prime example of a level of recklessness that could potentially cost lives.
I’m not an “influencer” so I could be so off the mark with this one, but I like to think that if I were that “influential,” my incentive would be to educate and encourage while being mindful of how my actions could be misconstrued.
When you’re speaking about mental health, the best bet is to proceed with caution.
Bad days are deadly, and you may think that expressing your excitement at the reality of being able to invest in weekly sessions is helpful, but you can’t even fathom how that post will relentlessly haunt vulnerable users, who wish they could experience the ease of therapy with selfies and a victorious post.
All I’m saying is that if you’re willing to manage a page that tons of people adhere to — just make sure you’re acting in their best interests.
You may believe you’re qualified to speak on anything and everything based on the consistent comments that praise your enviable brilliance, but that assumption could cost a life that isn’t yours.
I’m a nobody — but I’m still asking that you proceed with caution when dealing with matters of life and death.