The issues with the recovery vs. anti-recovery discourse in a nutshell.
First problem: Nobody knows what anyone else is talking about (but they keep arguing like they do).
no one actually defines recovery the same way.
- when we talk about ‘recovery’ half of y'all use that word to mean “doing what you can to manage better in your day to day lives” and the other half use it to mean “being totally cured, completely and utterly mental illness/neurodivergence/disability free” so we constantly end up with 2 or more people arguing about recovery thinking the people they’re arguing with are defining it the same way as they are but in reality everyone involved is talking about a different thing entirely.
whether you define recovery as managing better or being cured there’s also an issue of interpretation there because different people have different ideas about what managing better and being cured mean as well.
- does 'managing better’ mean simply doing what you can with what you have? or are we defining it as nothing short of getting out every day and living some 9-5 job, white picket fence sort of life? i’ve seen people define it both ways and a thousand ways in between. when you consider recovery to be about being 'cured’, how do you define that? how do you see it happening? are you acknowledging that there are people who cannot or do not want to be cured and saying this shit anyway or are you only thinking about say, only depression, but simply not naming that thing in your post which brings me to
when we talk about mental illness, neurodivergence, and disability, people are STILL hopelessly vague.
- take a sentence like “if you’re mentally ill recovery is possible” and ask yourself what mental illness are we talking about? what is your definition of recovery? because we’ve already established that 'recovery’ could mean any number of things and 'mental illness’ tells us nothing. are we talking about depression or anxiety? or are we talking about personality disorders? psychotic disorders? what? saying you can be cured from depression is not the same as saying you can be cured from a personality disorder - tips people share to help manage anxiety are not going to be applicable to all mental illnesses. y'all are constantly saying 'mental illness’ in posts when you’re actually only talking about depression or something and people with mental illnesses that are not depression are reading that and thinking “what the fuck” because what’s true for depression is categorically false for plenty of other shit.
people are constantly ignoring physically disability and chronic illness in discussions about recovery.
- 'recovery’ is not only a term used in discussions WRT mental illness but also with physical illness and disability so when a person who is chronically ill or physically disabled sees a vague “recovery is possible” post even if you did not intend for it to be about them they have no way of knowing that when you’re being vague as fuck about what you’re actually saying and who it is your post is about. and i shouldn’t need to explain to y'all why telling a person who is physically disabled and has zero chance of that ever changing that they can be 'cured’ is on a whoooole other level than telling someone with depression they can be cured.
Problem Two: Y'all can’t tell the difference between personal anecdotal posts and posts that are specifically addressed to/for other people.
raise your hand if you’ve
been victimized by regina george had some “we can’t all be neurotypical karen” comment added to a post you made about your own experience with some kind of coping mechanism or something you did that helped you with whatever is going on with you?
- a lot of people involved in these discussions see a post that says “i tried yoga and it helped with my depression” and they think it’s the same thing as “you need to try yoga because it will cure your depression” but…they are totally different. personal anecdotes are not personal recommendations, a person talking about something THEY did to help with THEIR self =/= a person telling YOU what to do to help with YOURSELF.
y'all also constantly misconstrue posts that are brainstorming different potential coping mechanisms and positive things to do with posts that are specifically instructing you to do something and assuming that these posts are guaranteeing you 100% that all the things on them will work or your money back.
- example: y'all see a post that’s like “here’s a list of some positive things you can do to help with your anxiety” and you think the OP is specifically saying that all of them will work for everyone…but that’s not what those posts are about. they’re not instructions, they’re ideas. they’re not meant to tell a person what to do or even promising them that any of that shit will work, they’re for brainstorming and coming up with something that might be helpful.
Problem Three: Some of y'all think too narrowly.
a lot of people on this site have an issue with black and white thinking.
- nuance who? y'all don’t get that not only are all mental illnesses, neurodivergencies, and disabilities the same but that people who have the same thing are not going to experience that thing in the same way. example: two people with bpd can have a WILDLY different experience with it and can have wildly different methods of dealing with it. what works for the one can have the absolute opposite affect on the other.
y'all assume that you can see one post a person made or even a couple of posts and you think you know everything there is to know about them and their experiences.
- but a person’s blog is only just a SMALL window into their life (even when they run a blog specifically about their mental illness, neurodivergence or disability you STILL don’t know even the half of what there is to know about them). you can’t see a couple of negative posts and assume that that means the person making them is “doing nothing” to help themselves or that they’re “anti recovery” because those posts are just a small fraction of who they are and what they’re doing. this is also even more ridiculous of an assumption because plenty of people use their blogs specifically FOR venting their negative shit and who someone is IRL is never going to be a living, breathing personification of who they are in their vent tag.
as much as people talk about “the mental illness community” or whatever, the fact is we’re not actually a community.
- we’re a bunch of people with one common thing posting in the same tags and occasionally we form little connections when we all follow some of the same blogs and we see the same familiar usernames but we’re not a community in the sense that there’s a community leader or a set of community rules or a list of things unifying us together or, for that matter, any actual interaction between us. the fact is that tumblr is a website with MILLIONS of users and the view you have of certain groups of people on tumblr (the mentally ill, neurodivergent, or disabled for example) will depend radically on who you follow and what tags you’re viewing. if you hate being exposed to negativity and people who are negative about their lives, you can prevent that from happening by simply not following those people, by blocking them, and perhaps by finding other tags to post in. saying “tumblr is anti-recovery” is much like saying “the city of new york is anti-recovery” just because you stumbled across some people in a back alley complaining about their anxiety. you can leave the alley and go somewhere else that’s more suited to you, you don’t have to stay and tell the people there to shut up because they’re not being positive enough for you.
And problem four: Some of y'all are just assholes.
- i think the majority of the recovery/anti-recovery argument could be solved if we were all a little less vague in our posts and made an effort to word them as specifically as possible and if we were all just a little less narrow-minded in both our thinking and listening but there are still people on this site who are just jerks because they will always assume that they know better than anyone else and, worse, that they know other people’s experiences and minds better than those people do and will absolutely lose their shit if anyone tries to tell them otherwise.
- this goes back to more black and white/no nuance thinking and it’s a problem on this site that goes well beyond recovery discourse. the solution for this is for all of us to try and think more critically, listen more carefully, and consider other people beyond just our initial reactions. most of being an asshole comes down to not caring about other people—not caring about how they feel, what they think, what they have been through—and the rest comes down to caring so much for ourselves and what we personally feel and think about any given thing that it makes us ignorant to everything else, so obsessed with our own opinions that we’re happy to fall face-first into the pond and drown in them. we all have to be cautious that we don’t fall into that and that we don’t end up creating our own little bubbles where our voices are the only ones we hear and we can do that by talking (not vaguely) and even moreso by listening to others when they speak.