Today’s Terrible Writing Club Prompt: “Sometimes I think the hidden key to empathy is just humility and curiosity. Its just saying, hmm, I don’t get that...tell me more?” - Nora McInerny
Empathy was the motivator behind starting up Pop& Down. How film and TV could more empathetically treat their mad characters. The general public’s lack of empathy towards celebrities struggling with mental health and addiction issues. The empathetic lens some people need to see one person’s “trash” as another’s form of self-care. These were the topics I felt like I needed to explore more with others like me.
Back in the throes of my problematic substance abuse, I overshared in an unhealthy way. But sober, medicated and armed with information about the two subjects I’m most passionate about – mental health and pop culture – I’m in a position where I can overshare behind a microphone, using my real name, expanding my desire to relate with others, talking with others about their experiences. I’m shy, and I’m an Aquarius sun/double Aries and INFJ, so I’m very curious. I feel safest talking to people about these deep experiences, whose empathy is also typically plentiful.
I have a lot of empathy for that unhealthy oversharer who I used to be. Substances made me messy, but they also made me less shy and withdrawn, more confident, more social. I didn’t know I was sick. I didn’t know I was self-medicating.
It’s tough to have empathy for the doctors I’d see who’d say it was depression when it was more than that. It’s tough to have empathy for people in my life who have little-to-no empathy for, or interest in my mental health issues and my traumas and how they inform my biggest passions. It’s also tough to have empathy to those who are incapable of having it themselves.
All I can do is try. Since I’ve been able to come to a place where I finally have empathy for the person I used to be, it’s not impossible for me to extend this same empathy to those who cannot show me the same.