For the Love of Mental Health and Luke Bryan
Let me preface this post by saying I am a huge
fan of Luke Bryan and I want nothing more than
for him to have a successful career. I even saw
him in concert last year with my grandma
(see picture right).
She claims it was the best night of her life.
And yes, we are wearing matching t-shirts.
Luke Bryan is an inspiring musician, talented entertainer, and dedicated father. Luke Bryan took in his nieces and nephew without a second thought when his sister and then brother-in-law unexpectedly passed away. He is a great man on and off the stage. That being said, great men and women are not perfect. No one person can please everyone. Which brings to my point. Have you heard his latest single, Light It Up? It has a catchy hook and a message we all relate to,wishing to hear from a potential significant other. There is another underlying message that you might have missed if you were not paying attention.
Here is the chorus:
I get so neurotic about it baby
‘Cause I know you’re reading your phone
I can’t help from going crazy
Thinking you might not be all alone
I wake up, I check it, I shower and I check it
I feel the buzz in my truck
And I almost wreck it
I always got it on me
Just in case you want me
So, if you’re looking for my love
Then light it up
Yeah baby, then light it up
There it is in the first line of the chorus. He gets “neurotic” about checking his phone. Merriam –Webster defines neurosis as “a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a distorted perception of reality and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (such as anxieties or phobias)”.
Sounds serious, right? Because it is.
Luke Bryan’s song is a perfect example of society trying to water-down and normalize symptoms of mental illness. Other common examples include “I’m so OCD about putting the dishes away” or “My TV favorite show just got canceled so I’m depressed”. You probably have said something similar. I know I have. The world we live in is as stressful and intense as it has ever been. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from the challenges of mental illness each year according to Mental Health America. About half of those 43 million are not seeking treatment. On average, they silently struggle for 10 years with mental illness symptoms before seeking treatment because they fear judgment and becoming an object of ridicule.
Mental illness is not a joke. It should not be used as an over-exaggeration.
Yet even I, a mental health advocate, am guilty of making light of mental illness challenges. No one is perfect. But with gentle reminders, we can hold each other accountable. If your friend made a distasteful joke, you would not reward that behavior by laughing. You would let them know it offended you. We need to do the same when mental illness is mentioned in an unflattering way. You can do this by having a calm, meaningful conversation about mental health. Use “I” statements to let them know that they offended you. For example, “I felt upset when you used that word” instead of “You should not have said that word”. Explain how they upset you and why it is important to you. Above all, remember to have patience and be kind with your words.
Mental health is a topic that has been shoved into a closet for so many years. We liberate it by having open and honest discussions about mental health. Pro tip: Use person-centered language instead of referring to the mental health challenges: “This is Mary who is experiencing anxiety symptoms”. Mental health affects every aspect of our lives and we need to start treating it as such. So next time, you hear Luke Bryan or anyone else make light of mental health challenges, be the person who takes a stand for what’s right.
If you any questions about mental health, the blog, or Florida Psychological Associates, please call (904) 277-0027 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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