Today’s post is inspired by this blog itself.
As I began to promote this site – a site addressing the mental health concerns of marginalized people-, a friend reached out to me to make sure I was doing ok. Sweet, right?
So why did I reflexively take offense?
It’s because we still think something thinking we have mental health problems is an insult.
I’ve been living with mental health issues for 20 years, but that doesn’t mean I have everything figured out all the time. In this case, my internalized feeling that someone thinking I had mental health issues is bad made me feel bad, even though I do have mental health issues and your friends caring about you isn’t a bad thing.
Care isn’t an accusation. My friend wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings by asking if I was ok. He was trying to find out if I was ok. The fact that there didn’t need to be any concern on his part is moot. We have to accept that other people care about us, and that checking in on each other is a thing that friends ought to do.
We should greet other people’s care for us as sincere unless we know it to be otherwise. And we should check on each other, especially in hard times. We can help make things smoother by keeping our curiosity and care genuine, being as honest as we can with our friends, and accepting people’s boundaries where they are instead of where we’d like them to be.
We shouldn’t push our way in, but we shouldn’t push people away, either. Care isn’t an accusation. It’s a part of friendship.