It’s not always positive (but that’s ok)

I often encounter bloggers who are excusing themselves for writing more negatively lately, or not being active a lot, because they aren’t feeling well. This makes me sad. Of course because I wish it’s going well, but also that there still is this pressure on people to be or act positive. Mainly, because a lot of people turn your back on you if you are negative, especially for a longer period of time. You can soon be regarded as a ‘whiny bitch’, but I’ve experienced that that’s almost never the case. It’s very rare to find someone who’s negative and does negative things (such as self-harm and talking about it) just for the attention. When you are not feeling well, this doesn’t come up in your mind. Usually you try to hide it, because you are embarassed and afraid, because you’ll mainly get negative attention.

I enjoy blogging here, because I find this blogging community to be fairly tolerant and nice to each other. That’s what eventually persuaded me to start blogging, seeing the nice comments on other bloggers’ posts and hardly negative ones. Sadly, in real life I see more negative reactions than positive. I wish we could break this stigma, this taboo on not feeling well (physically or mentally – since both have a taboo, mainly because chronic (physical) diseases or chronic (physical) complaints are soon regarded as mental issues, and those are often still not accepted).

nowhining

[Photo of a sign with a red circle and the word whining in it (which is also crossed with a red line). Below the circle is the text: This is a no whining zone]

I think everyone in life has periods of more negativity and some people have this more than others. It’s possible that you have long periods of hardly seeing anything positive. This is hard enough as it is and the pressure of society and incomprehension will make this only worse.
I understand that some people try to avoid negative people, because they’re afraid it will drag them in it. But this doesn’t have to be the case. It depends on how that person is talking as well and you can gently talk about it with them, if you think it’s too negative or too incomprehensible. I prefer to help and support those ‘negative’ people, to imagine what they’re feeling, even if I do it just a little because otherwise it’ll affect me too much. It’s ok if you take time for yourself as well, take breaks from caring for others, need breaks because it’s a stressor for you etc. But the people you’re caring for, can also have breaks now and then. They also can have good periods too and those usually happen more often, when they are in an understanding environment.

Blogging helps a lot of people. Talking about it can be too difficult and in this way, you’re still talking about it. Sharing can help you feel better and it can enrich the other person’s life too. I hope it will be more normal to see ‘negative’ posts too. This doesn’t have to feel like ‘whiny’ posts at all. We have more freedom here on the internet, so I think it’s a good first step to break this ‘having to pretend to feel well’. Because I think that nobody actually feels better, when there are a lot of people who are or feel obligated to act like they’re doing well. There will be irritations for both sides and it often leaves a bitter aftertaste for both sides (but we can be fairly certain that it feels awful for at least the person who’s forced to pretend). You can be yourself, really. Sadly, it’s not accepted everywhere, but together we can make this happen more. If it helps you to talk or write or sing about it, do it. If it’s too much to handle for certain people they can take breaks, just like you can with ‘acting normal’. I think that an understanding, nice society that’s loosened up more, will reduce the (social) anxiety a lot of people have. Negative comments from people on ‘negative’ behaviour, because someone is honest about not feeling well, will only make it worse I think.

I also think that it makes it more realistic. To write negative things as well. Because I don’t think anyone can be 100% happy all the time, has entirely nothing to worry about. That doesn’t seem to be in a human’s nature. I don’t mean that you can’t be a positive person or can’t be happy or grateful in life. I just mean that even then, I’m certain you will encounter downs in your life as well, but maybe this takes a long time before it will happen and doesn’t happen often. If that’s the case, I’m happy for you. By helping each other and sympathizing, I think we can all be happier. There’s also something in it for the helper after all. And that’s ok too, as long as you don’t help other while having bad intentions.

Photo source

I tried to find photos/pictures about negativity being allowed too or that sometimes being negative is normal. I could only find photos about positive thinking or negativity not allowed at all.

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8 thoughts on “It’s not always positive (but that’s ok)

  1. I don’t usually engage the public with concern for suffering stigma. I do not have any obvious mental or physical ailments or oddities that call for attention (or inattention). And so, as a day in/day out reality, I do not worry about such things. And I almost could have gone my whole life, I think, with out considering it much.

    I think one of the first times I dealt with suffering stigma was in my early adult life and I joined a family I had just met at church for lunch in a public restaurant. When our food came, they all wanted to pray over the food. The prayer was not flamboyant, but it was still a public display of what otherwise had always been a matter of private piety for me. The father of this family prayed over the food for almost 2 minutes as we all dutifully bowed, and all the kids clasped their hands in an overt prayer posture.

    I was not exactly mortified, but I felt a heavy cloud come over me all through my meal in that place. I reflected on it as a matter of faith for years afterward.

    Shortly after that, I dated a beautiful, young lady briefly who had a brother with downs syndrome. He was a younger brother who still lived at home with his parents. His affliction was obvious, but not commonly understood by the public at large. I quickly found this family discussing, with great frequency, the stigma they suffered – usually through gawking stares but sometimes off-hand comments etc. And on a couple of occasions, I accompanied this family in public where I learned first-hand exactly what they meant.

    In my adult life, I have come to be concerned with a social phenom I call “invisible people.” Shortly before I went to college, I read about the Caste System in India and of course the “untouchables” – the lowest caste of people there that most other people avoid as a matter of practice. But then I learned of a non-caste even below the “untouchables” that, as one writer put it, “In centuries of British presence, no one even knew they were there. They were ‘invisible.'”

    These people only came out at night. They washed the clothes of the “untouchables” and went unseen and unspoken in the larger population! A whole lost caste!

    Discovering that story really shaped my career. I began looking for invisible people in my own culture. I found them. I found them among the custodians! I did social experiments in college that demonstrated that even I could vanish right in front of my own friends eyes if I dressed a certain way and engaged in a custodial activity just a couple of feet away!

    Later in my life, I began dressing like a homeless person and eating lunch on street corners or outside of businesses where people walk by and see me. I made cardboard placards announcing: Pray for the HOMELESS. It was not exactly begging, but kind of like a slight of hand, it SEEMED like begging. The first time I did it, I felt a mortal shame well up in me. I almost choked on it. I worried I would bump into someone who knew me personally, how could I look them in the eye???

    That seems strange to me now, because I was just playing a role that I could easily discard by simply walking away at any moment – even if I bumped into someone I knew. But I toughed it out and stayed. I bore the burden of the stigma of homelessness, even if only briefly. But I did it again and again too. I have done it so much now, I have lost count. And I have gone one better too, I have camped with the homeless through the night on numerous occasions. I went without a shower and blended in as best I could numerous times. I walked a mile (or two) in their shoes.

    As I figure you know, a lot of my homeless friends suffer severe mental illness too. In fact, the illnesses are one of the main factors in landing a lot of these folks in the streets to begin with. (I worked in a psych hospital too for 4 years, so I have that experience to go with it.)

    I do not claim to know it all. That is not my point. I learn more all the time, actually, and realize how little I actually do know after all. But I have put a foot in that other world. It means I have a foot in both. I am a bridge person, of sorts. There was a personal Rubicon of SHAME to cross, and I crossed it. And I think most “normal” people are AFRAID to cross it.

    It’s not that they fear afflicted people will take over the world like as if some zombie apocalypse. It’s not that they “fear the unknown” – though that is involved somewhat. It’s more that they fear having to feel ashamed, like somehow the stigma will stick to them too. And ironically, the knee jerk reaction to that fear dictates that you pump up that stigma and heap it on others you sense already bear its burden.

    What is also ironic (and truly sad) is that people suffering that kind of fear of shame are the real prisoners. They are prisoners of their own lack of imagination. And their scorn and the evil they inflict so easily has, more often than not, to do with their mistaken way of defending against their own fears. They are the victims, and they don’t even know it. And they are victims of themselves.

    I am sure there are exceptions to that analysis, but I believe it captures the majority of those who suffer both the stigma and the fear of it. And I offer this analysis as one who has a foot in both worlds.

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    1. It’s good that you care and try to help ‘invisible people’. And also show to ‘visible people’ what’s going on in the world. I don’t think it’s necessary to be personally affected by it, to talk about it and try to change it. Although, you do need to experience things, at least in certain ways (like you see it happening to a friend or hear about it a lot) before you can really notice it I think. You need to be open for it.
      I often get the response that I’m not allowed to talk about certain things. Because they don’t want to know, because then they can’t pretend these things aren’t happening in the world and then they would feel bad. If they actually saw it or paid attention to it. It’s such a shame when someone reacts to it like that. Sometimes it makes me a bit angry, but I try to not let that out to them. They could do something, they could help but in stead of that they’re turning a blind eye, because it’s easier to pretend it’s not true. A lot of people tend to underestimate how soon they can make a difference for somebody or something. Things that seem really small can already really help someone.

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  2. On another note:

    This does not feel relevant really, but when I think of you, I think of it. So… here goes…

    This has to do with language…

    My best college buddy was from Ukraine. In fact, I met and befriended numerous foreign kids in college, mostly from Africa. I think of my friend Andrew Bakuru who really helped me see my own culture from outside it in some important key ways.

    Meanwhile, my friend Oleg, had mastered (I think) three languages before I met him. Being an average American kid, I spoke only English. I can understand a small bit of Spanish. I can speak numerous words and phrases in Spanish and a few in Navajo/Hopi, but basically I am mono-lingual. Even still…. But Oleg spoke Russian, his mother tongue, French and English masterfully. I think he might have spoke Italian too.

    The amazing thing about Oleg for me was that we both took Ancient Greek together – 3 years of it. That is a dead language, which gives learning it an advantage, but using it a disadvantage. Nevertheless, I sat in awe of Oleg as he learned Greek in an English speaking culture/class from an English speaking teacher even though his mother tongue was Russian! He went on to learn Hebrew as well, and I suspect a bit of Arabic too. And I learned from some of these multi-linguists that the 2nd and esp. 3rd or more languages are typically relatively easy to learn.

    Anyway, I have never taken on the discipline to find out for myself. But I had a front row seat to it. And it has my admiration. And that made me think of you too.

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    1. Aw thank you, but I’m really not that linguistic. Although I think I was better in it in the past. I really want to learn Spanish and have already considered learning it with English text books. There are so many more languages I wanted to do, but I think I really need to minimalize it and not try master 10 at the same time, lol. Have to wait till my school has/studies have finished anyway.

      I’ve heard from someone who spoke like 7 languages that the more languages you speak, the worse you speak them (all). She especially spoke a lot of languages with a same origin (slavic languages for example) and it became really confusing for her. I think you really need to keep using it and that’s were it went wrong with my German and French. I’m trying to pick it up again though, also still have to do my graduation exams in those, but I never get actually taught anything at school. All self-study, quite annoying because the teachers are supposed to teach, but luckily I’m disciplined enough to self-study.

      I ‘studied’ Latin in the past for 1.5 years and ancient Greek for half a year, but I prefered Latin at the time (one of the subjects I took at school) and thought it was really interesting. Had to quit it, because school was already too much for me and it was an extra subject, so you also needed at least 8 others (especially since my illnesses became more severe it’s too much). That’s also why I’m not really good with the languages anymore, I have cognitive and energy problems and they seem to be getting worse. Doesn’t stop me from trying to learn and get a certificate in it though (I’ve experienced that you need to prove everything with a certificate or a writing by someone else and preferably an exam). I’m also to insecure to ask the teacher for help (I don’t want to bother them and there are attention seekers in class, so yeah…) or ask someone else to practice it with me. Especially speaking is usually the problem for me, but not with English or Dutch. I think I should ask around on the internet, that’s easier than at school. But still hard for me, also because my level is way lower on that specific part and that makes me very insecure as well. Afraid that I’ll do something wrong and irritate someone with it. But chatting with people on the internet could be a lot more fun as well, because it’s really interesting to learn about different cultures and countries and lives. Have already made a lot of skype calls in the past with someone from the USA which I met online and became my friend.

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  3. Mooie post alweer, de analyse van Agent X ook. Ik lees niet al je stukjes want probeer niet te vaak online te hangen, maar als ik er eens eentje aanklik is ‘t telkens weer raak πŸ˜‰

    Onlangs het boek over de kracht van kwetsbaarheid van BrenΓ© Brown gelezen/doorbladerd, waarin ook wordt uitgelegd dat schaamte in al zijn verschijningsvormen ons ervan weerhoudt onszelf te zijn.

    Je merkt het als je eens een “negatief” blogbericht de wereld in stuurt: omdat het in de stats amper verschijnt en je er zelden een like of comment op krijgt, word je nog eens bevestigd in je onzekerheid “of het wel ‘done’ is om zoiets op internet te zetten”. Terwijl m’n blog verdorie een eerlijk burnoutverhaal is, waar mentale miserie nu eenmaal een groot onderdeel van uitmaakt. Chronisch slaapgebrek om maar iets te noemen, richt echt wel zware schade aan aan het geheugen bvb. Niemand die het lijkt te willen weten als je daarover schrijft, terwijl een aanzienlijk deel van de westerse mensheid op volle snelheid onderweg is naar de crash.

    En offline doorgaans hetzelfde liedje inderdaad… Niet bevorderlijk voor het mensbeeld.

    Oh well. Schaamte voor dit lapje tekst aan de kant en klik send πŸ™‚

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  4. Dank je wel. Ik schrijf ook niet altijd dit soort posts natuurlijk, maar vind het wel belangrijk om dit soort dingen ook te benoemen. Dit hoort ook absoluut bij mij en ik respecteer andermans mening ook, maar het werd toch wel tijd om ook (voorzichtig) wat van mijn gedachten te laten horen. Al te vaak kwam en kom ik het tegen dat mensen ‘andersdenkenden’ niet willen horen en dat is zo jammer, ik zie zoveel onbegrip overal. Hier kan ik mijn stem laten horen, maar daar gaat het mij eigenlijk niet zo om. Ik hoop dat anderen er wat aan kunnen hebben, er over na kunnen denken of (h)erkenning vinden. Dat kan al met ‘simpel’ je ervaringen vertellen. Ik wil ook trouw zijn aan mijzelf en mijn gedachtenspinsels, ook al krijg ik dan minder views. Ik kan ook wel een soort ‘standaard post’ schrijven over hoe je meer views op je blog krijgt en dat soort dingen, maar ik wil toch altijd wat van mijzelf. En toch hopelijk ook iets ‘nieuws’ bij tips en dergelijke die ik probeer te geven.
    Ik ben niet zo groot, maar dat hoeft niet. Het scheelt denk ik ook dat mensen die niks hebben met jou blog, je toch niet gaan lezen, dus dan heb je minder negatieve reacties. Al zou ik ze juist willen uitdagen ook andermans ervaringen te lezen en proberen niet meteen te (ver)oordelen.

    Absoluut, ik heb ook al vanaf jongs af aan slaapproblemen en mijn partner heeft er ook last van en het geeft grote problemen. Maandag nog een arts gehad die er totaal niet in ‘geloofde’, maar die geloofde ons sowieso al helemaal niet. Die dacht dat ik lui was, terwijl ik juist altijd moet opletten niet te veel te doen en afgeremd moet worden. Ook zou ik zogenaamd heel goed slapen, maar het klopte allemaal niet wat ze hadden opgeschreven wat ik eerder gezegd zou hebben. Ze had allemaal aannames gedaan en natuurlijk ook al haar ‘bevindingen’ overlegd, maar vragen of ik sportte bijvoorbeeld dat kwam niet in haar op. Als je je onderwijs op een aangepaste manier volgt (zij noemde het spottend speciaal onderwijs, ook al is mijn school dat officieel niet, maar eigenlijk zou dat niets uit moeten maken) dat was al belachelijk en dan deed je dus helemaal niet veel, laat staan sporten. Helaas. Ik merk gewoon dat de meeste artsen zich blindstaren op 1 ding en daardoor kom ik niet verder. Voor nu laat ik het maar en eventueel later maar weer verder met de zoektocht. Maar vervelend is het wel. En zeker heeft het effect op je geheugen, die van mijn partner en mij zijn ook echt heel erg achteruit gegaan. Heel lastig ook met school en ook in dagelijks leven met afspraken e.d. Ik hoop in ieder geval dat je op een gegeven moment iemand vind die je kan helpen hiermee en ook naar jou als individu kijkt. Ook al is het misschien niet het ‘hoofdprobleem’, dan nog kan verbetering daarin zoveel verschil maken!

    Ach ja, ik hoef me in ieder geval geen zorgen te maken om onderwerpen te verzinnen om over te schrijven… Enneh die schaamte vantevoren was echt nergens voor nodig πŸ˜‰ goed dat je toch op send hebt gedrukt πŸ™‚

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  5. Living with someone who suffers from chronic pain and anxiety like I do,I fully understand that there good days and there are bad days an your are right it is ok to talk about it too,xx Rachel and Speedy

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