Mental Health is Not a Competition!

Mental Health is Not a Competition!

There are always two sides to every story and the same counts for my blog. Recently I learned that there is another side to mental health blogging. I wouldn’t say a scary side but more a worrying side. It doesn’t happen too often, but some people are comparing my mental illness to others, and frankly, that’s quite alarming.

It’s not uncommon; it happens to more mental health bloggers. I think in some capacity, it’s just part of the ‘job.’ It’s not very different from sharing something on social media and people comparing their lives with others.

However, it’s a weird feeling when people start comparing my mental health problems with other people. I received messages like “Well you’re handling depression a lot better than someone else I know”__ I mean that’s quite a statement right?! And “I can’t see you’re struggling with mental health issues I know a person….” Well yeah, you’re not here at night and Being Invisible rings a bell maybe? And my favorite one: “You look like a ‘normal’ person.”__ Ow thanks I guess haha…

Let’s try that with something else “I know this guy with a broken leg….” No, that’s wrong! Same counts for mental illness. Everyone is different and faces their own challenges. It’s not a competition! As far I know there is not a leaderboard where we rate each other’s mental illnesses. Of course, we can share knowledge, and it might even help someone, but it’s for that person to decide to use it or not.

I wouldn’t say comparing someone’s mental illness is the main reason for the stigma still going strong, but I believe it’s part of it. It can be damaging to people and might even make it worse. What if a severely depressed person hears: “I read this guy blog, and he is doing all these things despite his mental health problems. And you’re lying in bed all the time.” I don’t think that will help and maybe make the person even feel more worthless. It’s better to say then: “I found a great blog about mental health, which might contain some tips that can help you” That sounds a lot more friendly. Food for thought 🙂

To end on a positive note, I also received heartwarming messages from some of my readers finding comfort in my blogs and being able to face their own challenges. I’m very thankful for that!

Jeroen van Werkhoven

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