Beyond Blue

Thanks to Reader “?” (formerly known as Liz … are you related to Prince?) who posted this comment on the message board of my “The Carnival of Depression and Bipolar Disorder“:

I went to Liz Spikol’s site [by the way, I will be interviewing Liz in September for my “How Do You Move Beyond Blue?” series] and could see that it could offer some support avenues. Unfortunately for me, the comment by Dr. Ellis that “neurosis is just a high-class name for whining” caused me to pause. Many people are sensitive to the “whiny” issue and are very guarded about what they share in the “real” world. It is such a relief to come here and try to put perspective to one’s “neurotic” self. For me, after I post, I am embarrassed at how pathetic I sound on paper….whiny. But inside my brain the whole pain and thought process gets very intense and the struggle seems to have no end. There is comfort in the fact that others know what the pain is and some have the same questions and some have ideas that might help. I realize that when I first visited this site I HAD to know that I was not alone. Sometimes now I am able to look for more and sometimes not. I just know that you are all there and I do pray for you. I even use my pain AND any joy as a prayer. Again, thank you.

Dear “?,”
I would have written to you long ago had I known your e-mail address to say this: I truly enjoy your comments. I find them engaging, sincere, enlightening, honest, interesting, and so so sincere. I don’t think you are whining, but then again, I have been called a whiner myself (go check out the message board of my “I, Too, Have a Dream” post, where you’ll find a few more adjectives next to my name).

I want Beyond Blue to be a place where people are comfortable “whining” (if the world sees it that way). To me, telling the truth is more important, even if it’s ugly, than covering up a lie. If a Beyond Blue reader is so depressed that she wishes she were dead, I hope that she says that! Because chances are, a good number of us feel the same way, and we breathe a sigh of relief whenever someone else says it.
In fact, even today, at my doctor’s appointment, I described to her my “Relapse: The Waiting Place” post, where I talk about becoming envious of people with terminal illnesses and elderly people. You know what she said?
“You don’t know how many times I’ve heard that … people so desperate that they only wish to die in a respectable, natural way.”
Is that whining? To many ears, yes. “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it” I was told repeatedly as a kid. Several friends have told me that by writing “I am mentally ill,” that I am trapping my psyche in sick mode, that I am preventing my own healing. That if I say positive words, and try my best to think positive thoughts, even if I’m not feeling them, that they will change my reality.
I see it differently. To me, being honest is reporting the symptoms. And how are you supposed to get better if you can’t name the problem? Maybe I’m brainwashed by twelve-step programs, but the beginning point for me hass always been admitting powerlessness. And how that has freed me!
I haven’t read much of Dr. Ellis, so I don’t know how he used that phrase “neurosis is high-class whining.” But if he means it in the way I hear it—that we are a bunch of pansies for describing our pain, I think he is the one with the more severe neurosis.
Please, feel free to whine away here on Beyond Blue.

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