Society Wants You to Hide Your Pain?

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Yeah, we’re going to have another week of mental health posts.  I know this is an author blog, but I think touching on these topics is a good thing.  People need to speak out about mental health and have discussions about it.  I mean, it isn’t like society pushes people to hide their pain and muscle through in a way that creates other issues?  That would be silly, unhealthy, and lead to a very damaged population.

So, why does society want us to pretend to be healthy?

I don’t have a real answer for this because everyone will have their own opinion.  Some people think this isn’t true and that you can get over mental illness with s simple snap of your fingers.  Others believe that each person has the time, resources, support system, and energy to handle mental illness.  You have groups that think there are conspiracies to keep the populace damaged for easier control.  The list of opinions and perspectives can be vast, so we’re not going to tackle them all.  I’m just going to say my peace and hopefully others give their opinions in the comments.

Long ago, I felt that there was something wrong with my mind.  This was in high school and I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I needed help.  I went to therapy and got a small handle on things.  It would be about 2.5 decades later that I discovered this was anxiety and it explained a lot of periods of my life.  Around this time I also learned that people recognizing an issue and getting help wasn’t common.  This is especially true with men who are told to push through pain because they’re not emotional creatures and couldn’t possibly suffer in such a fashion.  I’d like to point out that I’ve heard this primarily from much older generations and women.  Yes, there are men who say this, but I’ve run into a surprisingly large amount of women who think men either don’t suffer in this way or it doesn’t matter.

As I was handling my anxiety, I was told by many people that I had to keep it hidden unless I wanted to fail.  Very few people wanted to hear about my problems or see any signs of them.  I was heavily urged to keep everything hidden.  I had turned one of my blogging days into an ‘anxiety blog’ days, which I was forced to make private and stop altogether.  Why?  My divorce had started and people were telling me that publicly talking about my anxiety would cost me my son.  It was a constant push for me to swallow the pain and not let it out again.  Of course, I went along out of fear and confusion.

Now, I wonder why we do this to people who are suffering.  It clearly doesn’t do them any good long-term.  They might be okay for a little while, but the pain builds up and comes out eventually.  If you keep kicking the can down the road, you’re eventually going to have a sore foot and not be able to get it as far.  That means, you’re bound to have to deal with it, which general society seems to discourage.  When the dam does burst, you get a chorus of ‘why didn’t you get help earlier’ or ‘stop being dramatic’.  Some people are very quick to abandon someone suffering from mental illness.  Not a great statement about the sense of community in our society.

For some people, I think a reason for forcing others to not deal with their mental illness and to hide it is fear.  They don’t want to see such raw emotion and pain.  It makes them uncomfortable, which could force them to look into themselves.  Plenty of people grow up to avoid self-reflection and seeing others hurting can trigger that.  So, it’s ‘better’ to push emotional numbness and ignoring pain on those around you.  Maybe it’s a messed up defense mechanism that they’ve developed for some reason.

Either way, we don’t do any good for ourselves or others by hiding our pain.  I don’t mean to start screaming it daily from the rooftops.  Yet, one can’t keep it locked up where it cannot be processed.  Even if you can’t see a therapist, finding someone to talk to can really help.  I mean someone who will listen and not constantly interrupt in order to give suggestions.  Many times, a person simply needs to vent and then hear that their feelings are valid.  A listening ear and kind words can go a longer way than the way society currently deals with mental health.

So, what do you think about society and the push to hide mental illness?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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13 Responses to Society Wants You to Hide Your Pain?

  1. L. Marie says:

    How sad when a person is told to get over something as if some things can be dealt with at the snap of a finger just because someone else demands it. I’m grateful for the years I spent in therapy to deal with depression. Therapy helped me see that while others had the mindset of “get over it” (without telling anyone how to do so), I was dealing with the depression despite what others thought.


    • It’s amazing how there are extremes when it comes to this. You have the ‘suck it up’ crowd downplaying the issue. Then you have those who want as much medication thrown at you as possible. Rare to find someone in the middle or just willing to listen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard some say men ought to remain strong and silent. These are the kind of people who one should not listen to at all. Sometimes it takes talking things out to come to resolution.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Everyone in the country went through and is still going through some awful things in the past few years. The Trump presidency, the pandemic, the insurrection. Nobody isn’t effected. The ones who want to deny our traumatic experiences are the same ones who wanted to deny that the pandemic was serious.

    Obviously, it’s different for you because you began to recognize the symptoms earlier in your life. Unfortunately, I think some of your advice-givers were correct, and if you acknowledged your issues it could have been held against you in custody negotiations. But that’s settled now, and I think you’re right to begin talking about it again. Don’t hide it from your son, either. He has his own issues, but it may help him to see you being pro-active in your own struggles.

    As a school worker, I’m part of the effort to help many students develop their coping skills and be able to address what’s bothering them in an honest way. This is something that has changed in schooling that I hope will continue, because it’s for the better. Kids need to know that they aren’t alone in what they’re going through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I’ve read, getting help for mental health issues isn’t a custody killer like it was even a decade ago. A good lawyer can show it demonstrates that the parent is working to improve themselves.

      I’m wondering about how schools are doing with this. I’ve seen good ways of handling it and then times that clearly don’t help the student. Feels like much of it depends on how the parent accepts situations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if some of this goes back to primitive times, almost like an instinct. Predators can pick out the ones that act damaged. Perhaps enemy tribes can, too. I agree with you that bottling it up is only a delay tactic.


  5. V.M.Sang says:

    I think it’s better now than in the past. In the 90s, at the school where I was teaching, a boy was really worried about his sister, who was unwell. He began to cry, and all his friends said, ‘It’s all right to cry.’ This I thought was a great improvement on when I was growing up when ‘real men’ didn’t cry. Men and boys who showed a softer side were ridiculed and bullied.
    So I would say that in some places, this idea of ‘strong, emotionless men’ was beginning to die 20+ years ago. But these things take a long while to permeate the whole of society.
    I’m glad you recognised you had a problem so early, Charles.


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