Whose Responsibility?

The above meme was shared with a mental health group I’m part of on LinkedIn. This turned out to be rather controversial. Some people commented along the lines of “100% agree!” while others said the meme itself is triggering and has no place in a mental health forum. I see both sides clearly and don’t know what to think of it.

My natural inclination is to be in complete agreement. I’m consistently mortified by anyone having to change their behavior because of me. I don’t want to be a bother to anyone, ever. One trivial example is going out to eat. I’m a very picky eater. But I am willing to go with people to virtually any restaurant. What it comes down to is I’m the unusual one. Why should I disrupt everyone else. I don’t care about food that much anyway. I’ll go and enjoy the company even if I have to eat something when I get home.

My therapist is always pushing back on that, telling me that it’s not bothering anyone. In fact, people are often happy to be able to help. She’s right, of course. I can make my preferences known without putting anyone out. The same is true with my mental health. Despite my therapist’s best efforts, though, it’s a very sticky feeling/belief.

On the other side, I see clearly that mental illness is not just, maybe not even primarily, an internal/individual issue. Contrary to what stoicism and some other things teach, we are all part of a community, and we need to be part of that community to be healthy. Part of being a part of a community is letting others know our wants and needs. Another part is relying on those others to respect and accept those wants and needs. On this view, the meme is clearly wrong.

So, my instincts are to do what the meme says, but my considered opinion is that the meme is too harsh. That probably means I should try to find a happy medium somewhere. What do you think? Yay or nay on the meme?

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