On silly sayings, self-disclosure and my efforts at numbing awful feelings{0}


I am one of those people who don’t agree with the notion that one should keep ones feelings to oneself. I do in no way think that self-disclosure is a bad thing (<–Psych-major, heh!); it makes others empathize, it shows that we’re all human, and unless you have some serious skeletons in your closet, you’ll probably feel a bit better after doing so.  Those who do not empathize are usually judgy people who would not make my ‘best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world’ list anyway, so meh. Most of us have feelings (there are exceptions, and those exceptions are profoundly creepy) and talking about them (or writing them down) can be therapeutic and healthy.
So to put it bluntly, I feel pretty awful right now and I don’t have a whole lot of options in terms of alleviating my misery.  I can’t watch a funny show on t.v. as I don’t/can’t watch television. It is not because of one of those “‘I am soooooo intellectually superior to the plebes who watch mindless drivel’ reasons, in fact, I like mindless drivel. But unfortunately (in the summer) my brain functions as such, that sitting still for longer periods of time is virtually impossible. I experience the barrage of stimuli that comes from watching t.v. as profoundly unpleasant, and I just can’t deal (I have a weird form of seasonal affective disorder). I do not feel like ‘talking to someone’ (recall, I dislike phones) and it is too late to go anywhere (I have work tomorrow). Listening to cheery music would annoy me. I have already walked the dog twice this evening (he’s tired) and writing (normally) helps me feel better, but I really don’t have time to write a proper post. What I’ll do instead is write a post on a not-so-important topic; that is, silly or false idioms/sayings.
One such saying is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Apparently it was first uttered by Nietzsche and it makes me think that we should probably question Nietzsche’s standing as one of the great philosophers (I know: HERESY! I may be a nobody, but I still think it was a pretty dumb thing to say). ”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is in no way true. When we reiterate it, we’re not considering that plenty of insults/injuries, be they physical or psychological, make you weaker. Much more so. I realize that the saying is not intended to be taken literally, but literality is my forte, so I’ll just run with it.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a classic example of why “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a falsehood. The reasons why people develop PTSD are many, but we do know that PTSD-sufferers are emotionally numbed. If they’re subjected to trauma over a long period of time and don’t receive help, the PTSD may be permanently with them.  They may in fact never again experience the full range of emotions. Their brains change, and the happy/sad/mellow neurotransmitters are reduced/altered. Their fate is a horrible one; Imagine never again feeling  joy or pain? Both are tremendously important, even though the pain-part may be unpleasant. Pain is necessary though; I’m not certain that you can experience true joy if pain has been entirely absent from your life (don’t get me wrong, it is not as though I appreciate my current situation as ‘it makes me recognize joy’; I am just stating a belief).

Now look at physical insults; you think the quadriplegic feels ‘stronger’? He/she is still alive, but holy dear, what an awful existence. You’ll live, but you have to be fed. You live but your (romantic) love will likely never be reciprocal. Even perfectly functional wheelchair users (that is, those whom have full upper body function) are marginalized and ‘turn invisible’ (i.e., the general pop. turns a blind eye to their existence). How horrible must it then feel to loose all function neck-down? So, in plain terms, I call B.S on the whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing. I have a relatively minor issue, and I certainly don’t feel strong.  And we should all think before we accept statements like these as valid, reasonable and acceptable. So in conclusion, I am  sad, but it’s o.k. I’ll get over it.