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Mimosas and Mental Illness

It seems every day brings forth a new opportunity for someone on social media to give an uniformed, unwanted opinion about 1) the poors or 2) the mentally ill, or 3) both. And since social media is full of opportunists, I found someone who managed to mangle how finances, mental illness, therapy and mimosas work, which  to be honest, is no small feat. It’s hard to be so wrong in 240 characters, but @TendentiousG didn’t let us down.

He made a tweet saying “if you can afford bottomless mimosa brunches, you can afford a counseling/therapy session.
mimosa

I saw the tweet and just stared. First, I wondered how this gem ended up in my timeline.  Then I thought maybe it was a joke, so I went to check the thread. Nope. The thread  doubled down on the idea that if you just stay home and save up mimosa money, you can eventually afford a therapist. I wouldn’t have been so annoyed if this “insight” wasn’t being touted as 1) easily obtainable and 2) absolute truth.

*insert the deepest sigh from the darkest corners of my soul*

So the guy doesn’t understand how therapy, brunches, poverty, or mental illness work, yet has no issue being loud and wrong about all of the above. And the worst part?

Based on the comments in thread, a lot of other folks didn’t know how these things work, either.

 

So let’s break this down a lil’ bit.

First incorrect assumption: People who can afford bottomless mimosa brunches are balling out of control. No. Let me assure you, as someone who has spent a lot of her life in poverty, brunch is a treat, and even if we go out, we go for the reasonably priced. Sure there are places that have a brunch menu that can cost $50 or more, but for the poor bitches like me the discerning diner, you can find a decent brunch spot for about $15. This doesn’t include mimosas, but $9 pitchers among friends help with the cost. So a brunch may cost me about $30- 40.00 In contrast, my anti depressants which aren’t covered by my insurance cost me $119 for a $30 day supply. And that’s not counting the actual co-pay to even see the doctor. Maybe I’m being a stickler about the language, but that tweet says one therapy session.  therapy session. Therapy takes months, if not years. A session is doing nothing. That’s like having one session with a personal trainer, and never going back to the gym and then wondering why you get winded going up a flight of stairs. So,

Mimosas, 1

Twitter experts, 0

Now, as this thread went on, the usual doubling down happened. “If you need therapy just skip brunches and save your mimosa money! Therapy is more important than fun. People who do brunches instead of counseling are being selfish and not trying to live there best lives.”

mimosas2
*record scratch*

Lets talk about what mental illness actually looks like, shall we?  In many ways, mental illness is like being an abusive relationship with yourself. You hurt yourself. You loathe yourself. And just when you think the sweetheart period might last, and you might actually learn to like yourself, mental illness rears its ugly head, and starts the cycle all over. It’s not fun. It’s painful, and brutal, and a constant struggle. It frustrating and terrifying to know that even if you do everything right- you take the meds, you go to therapy, you know your triggers- you can still have bad periods. The battle with mental illness is a lifelong struggle for many.

And something that’s incredibly common for those in the middle of a mental health episode is the tendency to isolate. There’s fear, hopelessness, and frustration:

But I am taking meds, why aren’t I getting better?

I did what my therapist said, why can’t I shake this behavior?

Am I a burden? Does anyone like me? Will anyone ever love me? 

Everyone would be better off without me.

What if I never get better?

These are the times when people with mental illness need the most support. It might sound crazy (pun intended), but thought patterns during mental health episodes are not rooted in reality. But, if you’re is isolated, with an ever increasing stream of negative self talk, you can convince yourself of anything. You can convince yourself that you are worthless or unlovable. When you’re alone and scared, you can convince yourself it will never get better. You can convince yourself you have no friends and nobody cares about you.

You know where you can’t repeat this negative self talk? At a mimosa brunch. Surrounded by friends. Because the fact that you are out with friends is firmly contradicting the negative self talk patterns. Its easy to be alone in bed for days at a time convincing yourself nobody cares about you. Its much harder to be outside your home, sitting with friends trying to convince yourself nobody cares about you. And trust me, I know, it’s hard as hell to leave the house during an episode. But that’s the work we do for ourselves, because we deserve it.

Getting out and having contact with others is essential to healing. The idea that these outings are merely frivolous fun and not part of self care or a treatment plan is deeply flawed, insulting, and even dangerous.

It’s scary to leave the house during an episode. It’s exhausting to get up and go out. And odds are, if I’m in a bad head space? I’m probably not even having fun at brunch, no matter how many mimosas there are. But it is work I know I need to do. History has shown me that I cannot just stay home and isolate. The consequences always get worse, the longer I do.

So if I am in a bad place, I reach out. I may have to wait weeks to see therapist, and even weeks longer to afford extra services. But I know a $30 brunch will help keep me going until tomorrow. Next week. Next month. I love myself enough to know what self care looks like. Brunch- or really any other outing- can happen on a small budget, and at almost any time. Waiting to save up for “real” care might end up costing more in the long run because I denied myself small acts of feasible self care while hoping I could last long enough to make it to the “real” care.

So I say, go to brunch, have a mimosa, and don’t hate yourself for what others deem as frivolous. You deserve self care, and if brunch can be a tool that helps you stop the isolation and negative self talk cycle, use it. What you can gain by relying on your support system far outweighs the cost of a mimosa.

Cheers!

-Phoenix Calida