Facing the Facts
Facts…I don’t know about you but I used to hate them at school and university! Every essay I ever had to write about anything had to be backed up with cold hard facts. It didn’t even really matter what it was about, we had to reinforce our arguments. I can honestly say it used to frustrate me to no end because I knew what my argument said, it felt justified, why did I need to include this fact or that fact to make it concrete?
Regardless of my feeling towards them, facts exist. They’re all around us. Sometimes simple things, other times a little more abstract, but we can find examples of them in our everyday lives. The trouble is, they can be taken in three different ways:
- treated as gospel
- taken with indifference
- completely ignored
Which are you?
Really, I’m sure we can all think of someone to fit each of those three categories. I certainly can! I could go on almost endlessly about certain individuals who refuse to accept what’s going on around them, even though it’s almost as set in stone as is possible. Personally, I treat them with indifference because they’re there, I can’t change them, I’ll use them if necessary but other than that they can keep to themselves. If that makes sense, of course.
It’s the first point that I want to focus on.
“The stats tell you all you need to know.”
That was said to me by someone over on our Twitter account, who believed firmly that I was wrong in saying that our struggle with our mental health doesn’t define us. Apparently, things like thoughts, behaviours, etc are defining attributes and all of those, filled with mental illness, make our struggle our identity. I argued that those can be changed, but apparently it’s a case that “it’s not about being convinced, the stats tell you all you need to know”.
Well…politely put…that’s a load of tosh.
Because why exactly should we go by the stats? They might tell us that depression is a dark pit that only the extremely lucky can climb out of; that anxiety is a never-ending cycle of panic, calm, panic, calm; that insomnia is sleepless nights for the rest of your life. Perhaps they tell us that people need medication and/or therapy in order to get out of mental illness, and even that isn’t guaranteed to work.
But why should we limit ourselves by what the stats and the facts tell us?
Aim for the Moon
Why exactly should we limit ourselves based on what the stats and facts are telling us? Surely that is nonsensical? After all, doing so only serves to shoot ourselves in the foot, crippling us before we’ve even left the starting line. Believe me when I say it won’t get us anywhere. Instead of helping us get better or work through our mental illness, we’ll start to believe that we cannot get out of it.
We will be limited before we’ve even started.
So what should we do instead? Metaphorically speaking, we should aim for the moon, because that way if we fall, we fall amongst the stars. Might seem whimsical and almost like some ridiculous fantasy, but isn’t it true? If we set our sights on what the stats have told us and where the facts are, that’s as far as we will ever go, if we make it even that far. If we set our sights beyond that then we stand a far better chance of making it past the limitations that they have put on us to begin with.
Wouldn’t you say that’s better?
In every single one of us, there is the potential to be something better than we are now. We can move past the restraints our mental illness puts on us. Granted, some of us will become another one of the “can’t be cured” statistics, but others of us might get through, who knows?
But why should we let the stats and the facts tell us that it’s pointless to even try?
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