There has been a lot of criticism of TLC’s famed Duggar family in recent days. But I’d like to replace the public shaming of the family with a dialogue about the underlying issues at work in the scandal. I have a lot of stake in this discussion because there are similar issues at work in my own life. And I am not alone. The Duggars’ story stokes the fires of public outrage because it’s familiar. The sting of betrayal is particularly sharp when the perpetrator is a so-called
May is Mental Health Month When someone has a physical illness, we offer sympathy and gestures of goodwill. But when someone suffers from mental illness, most people back off and form opinions. Despite the copious material available on the subject, our cultural awareness and sensitivities toward mental health still need some serious tweaking. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that people should suck it up and “just deal.” Imagine saying that to someone with diabetes.
The word “victim” is a heavy label that follows a person—shaping an internal narrative about psychologically damaging events. “Survivor” is much better. There's a reason Gloria Gaynor's song (“I Will Surive”) persists as a cultural staple: the anthemic message is uplifting and champions the downtrodden and encourages them to pick themselves up and persevere. From personal experience, I can tell you that storytelling is cheap therapy. Even more importantly, it’s empowering.