Was walking through some of the quieter parts of Bergen County yesterday and talking about this and that. It came up the subject of a younger mutual friend, and for a moment it made me think of a few things that I didn't really get to talk about or even bring up. For the most part I just wanted to know if they could see the distinction as I see it or if it's even that much of a problem for them in their eyes.
It's very rare for me to see this, I should say. But it's something I wanted to bring up if only because I can understand this impulse without fully excusing it or saying that it's okay to act upon. What I find a little troubling just relates to what I might have brought up before, that I believe with anything related to mental health, it should be reinforced the need for people to seek professional help, instead of using whatever outlet they have as an excuse to only ever express bitterly their negative emotions. 'Walking in ever-decreasing concentric circles,' the way I once heard, an image that has always stuck with me. There's definitely a certain value in allowing yourself a space to recognize, process and express a feeling as it relates to your trauma, don't get me wrong, but it should be in open relation with understanding that such a mindset is poison if you choose to willingly dwell on it for too long.
And I'm kind of talking about just that: the tendency I notice in young, insecure people who are likely struggling with depressive moods and emotional dysregulation, to almost fetishize their mental illness to a point where they think it's an end in itself. Instead of seeing positive examples of, for example, public figures and celebrities talking about their struggles with depression or ADHD as a sign that they should seek help for themselves, they seem to take note more of the aesthetic qualities that are attached to that person, how much they think it seems the point of any mental health crisis is to simply lean into it, regardless of who they hurt in the process, because they seem to believe the point of it all is to simply 'go through it', like there's a sense of the inevitable in their behaviors and thought patterns. Very much decontextualizing the overall message in search of some validation of the self. Left alone to fester internally, I would say, it deteriorates one's connection to the world. It's precisely the thing we (rightfully) deride incels for, that they take no forward steps to want to be a better person and instead cling to outward examples that reinforce their hateful views.
As I said, it's rare for me to see this, but it's becoming more of a thing I wish I could call out, whenever I do happen to notice it. At the end of the day, people need to want to seek betterment for themselves, whether it's of their own volition or with the encouragement of the people in their lives. This is not to assume that such people even have either of those things, but I think there is an underlying attitude that is very lackadaisical to a careless degree whenever we're with people who do openly express extremely negative and self-defeating thoughts, that we almost dip into an attitude that's more reflective of artistic criticism than anything else, where we care more about affirming their willingness to be open about these things and talk about them, instead of, as well, encouraging them to get better.