Columns / Discourse / January 25, 2017

One Mind: Friends in Familiar Places

One thing I’ve found with mental illness, as I may have mentioned before, is that you never really know when or where you’re going to find it. Statistically, about one in five people deal with mental illness, or will deal with an episode of it in any given year. Though this definitely seems like a large number, it didn’t really sink in for me until I started trying to be more social. Though I know this isn’t necessarily true for everyone, in a lot of cases, people were pretty open about things they were dealing with, especially when they knew that I also dealt with mental illness.

Another bit of advice I want to give, though it may seem somewhat cheesy, is to not be afraid to do what you love. Honestly. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but if there’s an activity that helps you find joy and reconcile with your own struggles, mental or otherwise, chances are somebody else has the same hobby for roughly the same reason.

Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself and others about who you are. Keep in mind, who you think you are and feel you are may differ depending on circumstances. On bad days, you may feel like you’re a lot less likeable than you actually are. Don’t succumb to those thoughts. Instead, allow the people you interact with to decide.

We form opinions of people often without really thinking about it, and, at least in my case, those opinions are often positive. I think the human brain is wired so that it takes more evidence to make us hate someone than like them. I don’t know if this is true or not, but most people I’ve talked to in the past year or two didn’t seem to notice any of the things I worried about when talking to them. They didn’t really get hung up on any of my less typical behaviors. Most of them didn’t even bring it up. Those that did know didn’t seem to care about it. Truth be told, if they weren’t shallow enough to judge you on a small bit of evidence, they probably won’t judge you once they know the full story.

As always, feel free to send in any personal experiences you wish to share. You may remain anonymous if you wish.

Tony Rogde-Hinderliter

Tags:  advice column discourse friends mental illness one mind

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