The Squeaking Wheel

Lately, famous people are making depression famous; they’re getting the message out: mental health isn’t an age, gender or “class” issue.  It’s an equal-opportunity predator.  A famous one.  So maybe now more people can feel okay about getting help. Here’s the problem: not everyone can admit they need help.  The root of that might be that we don’t trust people—which seems wise.  We won’t risk sharing a burden with a blabbermouth. Not even a burden that’s killing us.

We just don’t want people talking about us.   That’s a little odd, though.  Because we make sure they do.  We post the posed and perfected pics, creating and ‘marketing’ the life most likely to get commented on and ‘liked’.  But I can’t recall any ‘Worst day ever’ collages.  They’d get comments, too, right?  Maybe that’s the real root: Exposing our truth means losing control of the narrative, of what we want people to say.  We’d rather die miserable than mask-free.  Literally.

Years ago, a colleague justified complaining by saying: “It’s the squeaking wheel that gets the oil.”   I’m not big on complaining, but there’s truth here.  Perhaps we stay stuck in mourning, because we don’t squeak; we don’t signal the person who’s got our oil (Isaiah 61:3).  And we miss a chance to get help—and to help someone else who’s struggling; someone who’ll never squeak alone.  So, maybe the famous people have the right idea.  But maybe the most helpful message will come from someone we go to school and church with, someone we talk to everyday.  Someone who can pause the pretense long enough to admit imperfection and struggle, who’ll tell the kind of truth that can set us all free.


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