I would put a great many of these comments (all of which I have heard, and all of them from people who have no clue about my personal history) in the category of folks who want you to feel better because somehow 1) they feel responsible, 2) they feel entitled to offer unsolicited advice, 3) your discomfort is an affront to them somehow, 4) pouring kerosene on the coals of your hurt somehow makes them feel better 5) self-righteousness runs in their dysfunctional families. Or whatever.

Look. You can I can easily argue that your having running water, a roof over your head and food makes you more fortunate than billions. By the same token, that completely and utterly dismisses and dishonors your experience. How on fucking earth do kids starving in Myanmar make the slightest bit of difference in your world? My mother used to push food at me while arguing that children are starving in China. Yep, they may be Mom, but the food is going into MY gut, which is already full, not theirs. How about you buy less food and donate the rest to a charity based in rural China and can it with the guilt trip? But that’s reasonable. Logical.

On and off during my life I have battled depression and suicide. Not a single happy-dappy Pollyanna comment from some nitwit made any difference other than to make me feel more guilty for not cheering his stupid ass up. As though that was my job. My job was to do my best to battle my way to a better life the best I could. Some days I fucking sucked at it. Unfortunately things like gang rape and sexual assault have a way of pouring piss on your perfect life, and the battle back to sanity and equilibrium is a tough one.

Depression has a purpose. It is a symptom, a signal, a bright red semaphore flag that shit isn’t right. Nobody owes me a better life, but depression for me was the indication that my perfectly justified rage at being raped wasn’t sanctioned by society and it was eating me alive.

We don’t owe anyone false cheer. We owe ourselves the work to get better. There are days we fucking suck at it. I still do at times. But I have better skills, and I do what I found works for me. And what works for me is not some dimwit telling me to effing Cheer UP.

Thanks for your honesty.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store