Why Pinterest 'Inspiration' Needs a Mental Health Makeover

If you search Pinterest for inspiration, you’ll see things like:

  • You can do anything you set your mind to.
  • I never lose. I either win or learn.
  • Your only limit is you.

Let’s be real: like many people struggling with mental illness, my mind is part of the problem. It sends me ideas that aren’t based on any current facts, gets stuck on catastrophic thoughts, makes me repeat actions until I feel hurt and tells me my friends hate me on a regular basis.

Sometimes I do lose. I can learn while losing, but a loss can also just be a loss. Or a second loss. Or a third loss. The lesson is the same, but I often need to make it a few times, just to be sure.

And I’m pretty sure my biggest limits are my mental illnesses. I am who I am because of them, and I don’t resent their presence in my life (most of the time), but they can be pretty damn limiting. I have to work harder because they are with me, and sometimes I can’t do something because of them. Rarely is the opposite true.

I understand the sentiments behind these stereotypical inspirational statements we find everywhere, but I’m looking for something more real. I want to feel inspired, not like I’m “less than” or “behind.” When I read, “don’t stop until you’re proud,” I wonder why I shouldn’t be proud right now and keep working on myself.

Here’s what I’d like to see instead:

  • “I love our time together. It really makes me feel good that I can help you rest while you’re working on settling your debilitating thoughts and anxious actions. When you’re ready, I’ll be just as excited to see you go.” — Your Couch
  • Exercise if you want to, but you can also get endorphins from going to town on those nachos. Throw some corn on there — veggies! Eating is important.
  • You can label activities “self-care” after the fact. “Wasted” the whole day binging on Netflix? Self-care. There, don’t you feel better already?

No offense to Pinterest, but let’s just be where we are. Focus on simply facing forward if that’s all you can handle right now. Moving can come later.

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