Mental Health internet “Experts”

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 3-25-2022

This topic needs to get covered, and I finally got my collection together to make this happen. Now with social media, there are mental health influencers and gurus everywhere. There’s more talk on mental health than ever before. And I’m proud of the younger generation for being more open to discuss it. However, the downfall is how quickly even the terrible mental health messages can circulate. I see mental health quotes going viral all the time, sometimes with inappropriate messages. There’s messages geared toward victim blaming, inducing shame, and showcasing ableism. There’s advice that works for a small percentage of people, but definitely not the majority. And the last thing any mental health professional wants to see is hundreds of years of progress getting washed over by a new phenomenon that is hard to tame/ manage. So I will share my collection of harmful mental health posts/ memes in this blog and give my professional rebuttals.

Clinical depression (Major depression) is a chemical imbalance (low serotonin & dopamine levels) typically combined with the vicious cycle of rumination, low motivation and physiological symptoms to include fatigue, limited energy, drain, numbness. People simply do not manifest these symptoms with their mind. Typically, the symptoms may worsen, they may rarely let up, and the result is the cycle which may include negative thinking patterns due to how horrible the person feels. Although it’s easy for those that don’t understand the condition to use the lines “it’s all in your head” or “you are just making yourself sad”, it’s a cop out for not wanting to gain a true understanding of the ailment.
This one was comical to me. As much as I would love to believe this is true, it can be very misleading. Imagine telling a people pleasing, savior complex having, fawning victim of abuse to just settle for what’s in front of them. A good heart and pure intentions is beautiful, but without boundaries it can lead to chaotic situations. And if someone remains stagnant in their chaos, with the delusion that it will “just workout in the end”, they may be getting set up for a world of misery. Things don’t just “work out in our favor”, life requires work, insight, growth and knowledge.
Not all relationships look alike, and not everyone feels the need to conform to societal pressures. Not everyone celebrates love in the same way. Marriage does not always equate to happiness and fulfillment (just look at our countries divorce rate). And NOT getting married does not mean someone is doomed to a destiny of heartbreak.
This seems like a given… but it has to be said again and again. Memory cannot be willed away on command. Our fight or flight response (in the amygdala) is tied to memory (through our hippocampus) in a primal part of our brain geared toward survival. Let go of what? Crucial Memory? Defense mechanisms? Physiological responses? Adrenaline? Letting go cannot happen without safety & healing, regardless.
There are many cases and scenarios in which this would be the worst thing to do. Such as: neglecting your bills, neglecting your responsibilities. Taking attention away from work when it’s stressful, or your children when they’re acting up. Depriving your spouse of attention when they’re upsetting you, further piling on the resentment. This is blanketed, and rarely translates to how real life plays out.
There are many variations of this quote that have circulated. The main issue with this mentality is that it leads people to believe that feelings and emotions do not serve a fundamental purpose. Feelings give us crucial data that we must interpret. Feelings exist just as logic exists, and we NEED both emotions and logic ….and more. “Stronger” than feelings? Feelings deliver messages, they don’t inherently weaken us. This stigma runs deep.
This is stating and advising the obvious. It’s just negating the reality of what an eating addiction and/ or an eating disorder is. The issue is that there are many that do suffer through the cycle of disordered eating, and can’t seem to gain a grip on managing it. And in cases like that, the sufferers need a well thought out treatment plan and intervention, not a blanketed statement that may induce shame due to simplifying a rather complex problem. The above advice is what a healthy mind would do, not an ill one.
I simply must believe a ten year old wrote this. It’s the only way to keep some of my faith in humanity in tact. Only a healthy kid, maybe ten or younger would think or assume our minds are always in our control no matter what trauma or hardship we endure…. Right?

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

2 thoughts on “Mental Health internet “Experts”

  1. Wow! A very powerful blog. So many people believe in the above statements, including myself at certain points in my life. Thank you for being the voice of reason and letting us know it’s okay to disagree with those who really don’t understand the root causes of so many mental illnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

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