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Who should we listen to?

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#1
Hi All,

So, awhile ago I was in a debate with someone somewhere (I don't remember) about who we should be taking mental health and life advice from. They were claiming that it was ridiculous for someone with mental illness or other issues to give advice to someone with the same problems (mental illness, etc), because they hadn't succeeded in life. It would only be acceptable for a successful, mentally and physically healthy person to 'help' the mentally ill or impoverished or whatever.

I disagreed. There's a few problems I have with this. It presumes that the mentally ill & impoverished have complete control over their circumstances and illness. It presumes that depression, BPD, etc is not an illness, but something you can overcome if you adopt the right successful attitude.

But it also presumes our only obstacle is failure and our only desire is success. I recognize these as major contributors to a depressive mindset, but ideas of success and failure are usually based on social standards that are normally unobtainable which cause people to feel stuck. This is just one example of how depression is more complex.

Personally, I have never felt comfortable receiving advice from someone who had no idea what it was like to feel depressed or anxious or moody. How do they know how to overcome something they've never had to overcome? They tend to push their ideas on you with no real substance. For example, when I got sick & had trouble doing the activities I used to love doing, my sister said to me "well this person with fibro runs everyday, why cant you?"

So my question is, who do you think we should listen to? Being that this is a peer support site, it seems obvious where people will lean, but do you think we can learn from those who haven't suffered from a mental illness? Do you want to? Sometimes, we just want someone who understands and listens.
 

RCee

Well-Known Member
#2
Very much appreciate this thought out question. It is currently 4:08am and I haven’t slept in awhile... normal circumstances I would leave a more thought out reply. I will come back later and give some thoughts *grouphug2 “who should we listen to”? 🤷‍♀️ I don’t even listen to my own stomach when I’m hungry. One thing as a rule. What everyone says to me I take as a personal opinion of a bigger factual matter. What I do with that is up to me I suppose. In the end I rule my own actions and decisions even if guided.

Be safe my friend 🤗
 

MisterBGone

Well-Known Member
#4
I think that it is also good — in addition to what you’ve laid out (in terms of preference for perspective) — listen to & hear what the other side / the uninformed from personal experience, side of things, has to say. Now, I’m not sure if you were speaking of a professional point of view, or sense, of just a peer. . . But either way, there are things to be learned from a view that has attached, or associated with it, a different or alternative lens.
For instance, the legendary Japanese Film 🎞 Maker, Akira Kurosawa, who could write circles around the greatest and best screenwriters of today, even utilized the talents of several others when writing ✍️ his scripts. Why? He didn’t want the picture to be too influenced by his singular opinion (lest he miss anything, or become too jaded or biased in another area).
But I think that, in listening to these other feelings and ideas that don’t simply sync up with, or agree with you, you may be able to better understand even your position. Because it will force you to think things through, and maybe reinforce one spot, or topic - while abandoning another (

I think that anything you can examine something with which you feel strongly about — that is to say passionately (because it is so deeply personal), that these multiple angles / sides, views & perspectives can only serve to strengthen your beliefs.
And I’m not even necessarily talking about the example you’d cited per se, just more in general terms & ways, matters & sense. . . Though I’d argue, or be willing to contend, that if emotion was allowed to be put aside, and their words more carefully examined, there may have been one or two useful & insightful things in there )somewhere ( to help you better understand the other side of things. Of course maybe not if they were morons! ;)
 

MisterBGone

Well-Known Member
#6
Just one quick note on the sis! ;) even if all other things were being equal, which they never ever are—that statement still makes no sense & is riddled with falacies/problems ; places for holes to be poked! But sometimes, in these situations, it’s kind of a, “what are you really getting at? Or mad about...”
 
#7
I believe that the best way of finding out whether someone is speaking the truth or not, or whether something is good for us or not, is by paying attention to our inner guidance, the wise one or living God within, who knows the way of all things and can answer any question we may ever care to ask - and that truthfully. To my mind, that's the only truly reliable teacher or guru in the whole of Creation.
 

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#8
@MisterBGone I didn't mean to discount the mentally healthy altogether (though I can see how it came off that way), but I do not believe they should be considered authorities on mental illness simply because they are successful in life. Maybe if they were successful in psychology or neuroscience that might be a different matter. But even then, socially perceived success doesn't always mean they are correct.

Thanks for offering your perspective here. Yes, you're right that those outside of your situation can have something to offer and can help solidify your own views. I just don't think they can be considered authorities on the matter simply for being out of your situation.

And as I said, on a more personal note, have always felt more comfortable receiving support and advice from those who can understand my situation and my emotions. I have yet to come across someone without mental illness that didn't roll over my feelings with their judgment.
 

MisterBGone

Well-Known Member
#9
Thank you for your honestly, your sincerity & your insights - (as well as sharing your thoughts & opinions/feelings; attitudes & beliefs, on the matter!) :^) I apologize if my post didn’t come off, or across as well as it could, or should have. . . I sometimes have the tremendous difficulty, or obstacle, of trying to combat, or fight the forces of conflict—“from within!” ;^) ...& that being, the external and internal stimuli, failing to sync up— ( ;

I think I sort of addressed this is a somewhat recent post, on a topic of which I couldn’t begin to venture a guess (one problem with butting your nose into so many conversations ‘round these parts). But it basically stated that just because professionals have the expertise in the subject matter of their chosen study - in this case, “ours,” that does not mean that they glean any additional or further insight into how we actually do feel, and the way in which we may face our struggles.

so, book smart, yes! But the understanding on a personal level is something that is likely lacking in most - or any - that don’t do through it personally; so they may know that this is how so & so is supposed to act, behave and etc., based upon a given set of diagnostic criteria, and a wide variety of other factors based upon their findings. But that doesn’t mean that they know exactly how they feel—or what they’re going through.
And at this point, I believe I’d referenced the psychiatrist, who came to fame when she’d written a book about how she struggled with bipolar / manic depression all through her life. Including medical school - she became noteworthy in that, it was not common for those within the profession to disclose such “weakness,” as it were.
And I forget off hand, if it was in this first book, or her next, where she recounts and tells the story of confessing such to a colleague at dinner, and from across the table she could sense his disgust, disappointment & so on... over her revelation (sort of an, “oh!.. you’re one-of-those..!”)

in my defense, it’s been 20 years or close to it. If you didn’t see the thread, or haven’t a clue who or what I’m talking about . I’d be happy to hunt down the link (s) & share it (them) with you. . . She’s a marvelous writer (for a doctor) when it comes to translating her woes within the medical profession & community as a whole. I believe she’d even survived an attempt in school, but! —
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#10
As someone who is mentally ill and stopped following the advice of shrinks, psychologists and medical staff I'll say this;

Listen to the experts. Listen to the psychiatrists who deal with these issues day by day and have the data to back it up. Listen to the psychologists who wants you to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy because it has a great chance of success. Listen to those who have answers and solutions and can back it up with data.

Now I personally have tried that for years and it didn't help me. I can't say whether that's my fault or the proposed solutions. But I can't argue against facts and data. So listen to the experts, try it out and see if it helps. They got the data and studies to back it up so why not just go for that? It helps so many people with medication and cbt.
 

snowraven

Well-Known Member
#12
Hi All,

So, awhile ago I was in a debate with someone somewhere (I don't remember) about who we should be taking mental health and life advice from. They were claiming that it was ridiculous for someone with mental illness or other issues to give advice to someone with the same problems (mental illness, etc), because they hadn't succeeded in life. It would only be acceptable for a successful, mentally and physically healthy person to 'help' the mentally ill or impoverished or whatever.

I disagreed. There's a few problems I have with this. It presumes that the mentally ill & impoverished have complete control over their circumstances and illness. It presumes that depression, BPD, etc is not an illness, but something you can overcome if you adopt the right successful attitude.

But it also presumes our only obstacle is failure and our only desire is success. I recognize these as major contributors to a depressive mindset, but ideas of success and failure are usually based on social standards that are normally unobtainable which cause people to feel stuck. This is just one example of how depression is more complex.

Personally, I have never felt comfortable receiving advice from someone who had no idea what it was like to feel depressed or anxious or moody. How do they know how to overcome something they've never had to overcome? They tend to push their ideas on you with no real substance. For example, when I got sick & had trouble doing the activities I used to love doing, my sister said to me "well this person with fibro runs everyday, why cant you?"

So my question is, who do you think we should listen to? Being that this is a peer support site, it seems obvious where people will lean, but do you think we can learn from those who haven't suffered from a mental illness? Do you want to? Sometimes, we just want someone who understands and listens.
I think it's best to listen to everyone and everything. You will no doubt hear lots of bullshit but somewhere in there you will find pearls of wisdom.
 

Human Ex Machinae

Void Where Prohibited
#13
I disagreed. There's a few problems I have with this. It presumes that the mentally ill & impoverished have complete control over their circumstances and illness. It presumes that depression, BPD, etc is not an illness, but something you can overcome if you adopt the right successful attitude.
I think you're right, depression isn't a lifestyle choice. You don't get healthier mentally in the same way that someone could become physically healthier just by simply deciding to become vegan. Depression can't be zapped away, or 'cured'. I think when someone thinks that they've been cured of depression, it wasn't actually clinical depression, it was just the regular up and down cycles of mood that happen to everyone. I view depression as a handicap that a person can learn how to live with and have a fairly decent life, in spite of it. Sometimes even because of it.
Personally, I have never felt comfortable receiving advice from someone who had no idea what it was like to feel depressed or anxious or moody. How do they know how to overcome something they've never had to overcome? They tend to push their ideas on you with no real substance.
They get all of 'their ideas' out of books. Not necessarily a terrible thing, I've gotten plenty of great ideas from books. But when it comes to psychology, human beings are much too complex for the trite labels and definitions in a textbook. One size doesn't fit all. If there's no personal empathy or mirror neuron thing going on between the practitioner and the patient, it's strictly hit and miss. Mostly miss, I think.
 

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