When The Platitudes Don’t Work

It takes not being on your meds to fully realize how thoroughly one has mastered coping strategies. For people that don’t go through therapy or psychiatric treatment of any sort, coping strategies are the safety net that’s supposed to catch you if everything else isn’t working. Some of them work spectacularly, while many others can break under increased strain.

Mine break mostly whenever I feel like they’ve become empty platitudes. Growing up, these platitudes and other empty practices helped keep me away from treatment – to the point of not even being willing to admit I had a problem with anxiety or depression. People would tell me I needed more generic happiness or spirituality or Jesus, and all would be well. After all, it worked for them. Why shouldn’t it work for everyone else?

That latter question is probably one of the deadly sins of mental wellness. If it isn’t patronizing, it’s definitely isolating. Either way, it leaves people holding the bag of their mental toxic waste with nowhere healthy to put it. Most of the time, I want to tell people where they can go eff themselves when they give me such nonsense, but then the point gets lost in the ensuing butthurt. They were just trying to help, they’d say.

Over the years, this association gets attached to every meaningless statement that I get offered. It’s a morbid reflex. Regardless, it helped me form a protective cocoon around depressive thought and my anxieties. When the best reasons I have for not hating myself, being afraid, and engaging in unhealthy thinking turn out to be untrue, it must mean that I’m right to be depressed. In short, platitudes are the proverbial gasoline poured on the dumpster fire of my misfiring neurons.

I recognize that nobody can know that. Saying something nice to people normally helps others (I’ve heard). Personally, I can’t do it. Without facts, my mind seizes upon any excuse to tear myself down. I end up isolating myself from people just to stop things from being too unmanageable.

What’s to be done when empty words won’t do?
Eventually everything boils down to personal discipline. I’ve had to write things down, to keep them out there where I can’t get rid of them. Going over some of it has helped, because they’re records of times when my mind was in better shape. The important thing is that they’re my facts, and not anything anyone else tells me. When I can barely rely on myself, resting on others is resting on a broken crutch.

What I’ve learned is that I do these things not because some therapist has instructed me to do so, or because of some lofty philosophical principle. I do this because I have to. Without it, I’m at the mercy of myself.

12 thoughts on “When The Platitudes Don’t Work

  1. As a teacher of mental skills in sports, I think all “nostrums” have varying effects. While medicine works by guess and test with pharmaceuticals (they prescribe and then adjust dosages based upon your feedback) they same approach should be taking with any mental discipline.

    If some drug or coping skill works for others does not mean it will work for you and I wish “consultants (medical or sports or …) would always qualify such things that “this has helped many others, so it might work for you, would you like to try?” Then follow that statement “if this doesn’t work, there are other things we can try, but this has the highest chance of working.”

    It also helps that patients (you and me) stop expecting cures. We want 100% promise that our ailments will go away (we do not like them!) and that attitude is unrealistic and child-like.

    As always I wish you success!

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  2. Having dealt with death hundreds of times I can tell you, no one ever knows what to say. No words console grieving family and friends. I’m sorry for your loss is about all anyone can do. I empathize with your struggles, and I am sorry you have so much to deal with. We are all here for to sound off whenever you want.

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    • Although we are separate individuals, our lives of course do not align completely, but our adventure to finding a safety net customized to ourselves is similar.

      Mental wellness does not always get the same or the right reactions. Years were spent trying to do what worked for others until I realized I needed to look back before I tried all of that.

      Where was I when I was younger, how can I make my life carefree and relaxed again.

      It is personal discipline, it is a constant internal reminder that is most necessary for us. After all people cannot change unless themselves are willing to, then we must push from within.

      I’m a new blogger, new to WordPress. Much of my writings are my battle from the inside out. Short stories to alleviate the realness. Just a bunch of present, fiction, and future for readers to enjoy.

      Here is my latest, feel free to comment. Again, I am quite new and gaining a confidence in writing is often pushed through feedback from others! Happy reading!


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