Wednesday, November 27, 2019

We're probably all just faking it...

At first glance, a cute and entertaining little meme. But what is it about it that makes us share and share and reshare? I think the answer is two fold:

1. Most (though clearly not all) people start their day with some form of caffeine. I believe we probably attribute a bit too much of our ability to actually get up and be human to such things, but, man, does it help! People often find coffee/caffeine comments to be humorous and relatable. And we like being able to relate to other people--even if it's just across the great abyss of the interwebs. "Oh, you feel like crap until you've dosed-up in the morning? Me, too!". At the heart of it, we're all struggling to 'adult' and knowing we aren't alone is at least a little comforting.

2. I think the real key to this meme is the 'pretend you know what you're doing' bit. Who hasn't felt like they're totally faking this whole I'm-a-grown-up-who-has-their-shit-together thing? My husband, who is clearly brilliant and very hard-working, even struggles to appreciate his own abilities and worth. It's normal. We all do it at some point... hell, some of us do it daily. Understanding that other folks out there who seem to have it all together are struggling inside just like we are is an important part of coping with the feelings of inadequacy that we all feel from time to time. Myself, I feel almost every day as if I'm totally faking it. One of these days, someone will realize I'm not as smart or as good at my job as I pretend to be and then it will all fall apart. According to the internet, I'm not alone in feeling this way. And maybe that's one of the best features of the internet: it lets us know, in little ways and big ones, that we are not alone.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Emotional Contagion and Self-Care

As someone with a very empathetic personality, I have had trouble my whole life with sort of absorbing other people’s pain and problems. But this problem is not limited just to those of us who are somewhat overly sensitive—emotional contagion is a legit scientific term. You’ve seen it yourself: those people who seem to be able to light up a room, that guy at work who is always cranky and brings the whole office down, the increase in stress from just being present in an airport. According to the very scholarly source, Wikipedia (lol), emotional contagion is important to personal relationships because it fosters emotional synchrony between individuals. A broader definition of the phenomenon suggested by Schoenewolf is "a process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioral attitudes"

Now, while empathy and the ability to feel for those around you is often a GOOD thing, it can be detrimental as well:

You know that one friend who always has some sort of drama?

That family member that just cannot be pleased?

The coworker that only ever complains?

Did you ever notice how being around these people affects you? It can be super draining, right? One bad apple and all that. It can seriously ruin your mood—even though nothing bad has actually happened to you.

This brings me to today’s meme:

It’s important to relate to the people in your life and to be there for them. However, you’ve got to take care of yourself and your mental well-being as well. You have to recognize the people bringing garbage to your station and send them (politely if possible) on their way. A friend or family member might need to share difficult emotions or situations with you, but that doesn’t mean you should let them park them in your yard. You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Welcome to the Madhouse

Well, hello there!

I don’t know what you’re looking for, but I hope you can find it here. My intention is to blog about life in general as well as life with mental illness. The latter is a bit more difficult to talk about, but I think I can manage some relatable posts through the cunning use of memes. J

I’ve been mildly obsessed with memes for quite some time now, and my cubicle at work is covered with them. I think there is real art in a genuinely good meme—just a picture and a few words and millions of people can relate. It’s a potentially beautiful thing, these silly little pictures and the way they can communicate so much to so many.

That being said, I’ve tried multiple times to start a blog and have consistently failed miserably. I’m hoping that this new approach will make for better content… I guess we’ll see. Fake it ‘til you make it, right?