I have always been the sort of person who kind of hangs back and allows others to walk all over them. I keep quiet and don’t impose my opinions or beliefs on others, even friends and family. I figure that I hate when people say these sort of things to me, so why would I comment on anyone else’s life? Do what you want, as long as it isn’t negatively affecting someone else. Nothing frustrates me quite like hypocrisy. It really gets under my skin that other people make me feel bad for doing certain things but then can turn around and do the same thing, and have absolutely no problem with it.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve noticed that sometimes we make our own lives based on the thoughts and fears of what someone will have to say about it. This is a poisonous way to live. Am I thinking for myself, or am I allowing my anxiety of not meeting society’s standards to make my decisions?
It is a given that living with mental illness is already something that isn’t a social “norm” per say. For me, my anxiety and depression can occasionally act as a crutch. I’m not saying that I lie about it; there are many times where I back out of plans, or school, or work because I’m being affected by it. BUT I feel like we live in a world where we have to justify every damn thing we do, so if I don’t go out simply because I want to stay home in my warm bed watching Netflix, then I’ll use my illness as my excuse in fear of upsetting others. How absurd is that, to fear causing problems because I’m putting myself first? I don’t like that feel like I have to do that.
I have talked about how I made the decision to not go straight to post-secondary education this year, and how that choice isn’t exactly something that a lot of people agree with. I’ve recently felt a lot of pressure to make up my mind on continuing my education by going to school. I’m constantly being asked if I “know what I want to do yet”, and I get that this is an innocent question that people ask with good intentions. But I still can’t help but feel small when asked this. It sort of annoys me that everyone just assumes post-secondary is a route everyone has to take, or that I have to know these things by now. I’m only eighteen, and I think that people tend to forget that some days. I forget that some days. I keep trying to remind myself that I still have so much time to figure out the “bigger picture” of my life. Even most of the adults I have come across lately don’t know what they want to do with their lives. But it is hard to not feel worse about myself when people ask.
I also hate this question because it tends to bring out the hypocrisy in people. People will tell me they admire my ability to do what I need, but then encourage me to look harder into programs. But my all time favourite is when they continue to tell me not to let other people sway any decisions. Isn’t that what is going on here?
The funny thing is that no matter how much I rant about this, I will still allow people to make an impact on my life. I’m constantly being weighed down by thoughts of “am I doing this right?” and “what will people thing of me?” The truth is that’s just the way our brains work. I’m going to acknowledge these things from now on because it is important for my own mental health that I can do what I want, feel how I feel, and live a life that’s up to my own standards and not have to justify it to anybody else. We all need to start thinking of being more respectful and realizing that everyone is different, and how someone feels or chooses to live is their own choice. Just because they are your friend or family does not give you any power to shove your opinion down their throat. Support is all anyone and everyone needs. Support and love, and the world will be a much kinder place to live.
About Emma Holden
18, tea enthusiast, animal lover, word writer, and wants to change the stigma on mental health one blog post at a time.