People say it all the time – easier said than done. That phrase can extend to a lot of different situations for a lot of different reasons. In fact I don’t think I realized just how often I said it (to myself or to others) during my day-to-day life. And while I think that this extends to plenty of situations in our lives, there’s no area where this plays out for me in a clearer way then when my mental health is involved. When it comes to mental health challenges and finding ways to improve my mental wellness, it is always, always, always easier said than done. Because even though mental health solutions might sound simple, they are anything but easy.
I’ll be honest – I wanted a clear-cut example of the difference between the words ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ and so I went to Google and clicked on one of the first links I saw. While the article goes into much more detail, it was this phrase that clearly explained the difference between simple and easy to me, and it’s this detail that makes a world of difference in the mental health space.
Easy means something that’s achieved without effort. Simple means something that’s uncomplicated and easily understood. But it cannot be achieved without effort.The Subtle Difference Between Simple and Easy (Medium)
At first glance, there is little to no difference between something being simple and something being easy. We use them interchangeably, and act as though if something is simple and basic, that it’s easy to accomplish. If something sounds simple but doesn’t get accomplished, judgement comes in fast and quick: Why couldn’t you do this? It was so simple.
But we forget about the X-factor: effort. Most things take effort. And for many people who experience mental health challenges, it’s extremely common that the amount of effort it takes to overcome those challenges is so much greater than most people realize.
I’ve said this before (and I know I’ll say it plenty more in the future), but getting out of bed in the morning is quite possibly one of the bravest things someone experiencing depression (or other mental health challenges) can do. When you’ve lost your sense of self-worth and self-esteem, or think that you have nothing to offer the world, and you still summon the courage to participate and be a person that day? Anyone who’s overcome that challenge knows it isn’t easy. But to most people, it’s simple. And that’s what I want to correct.
When you lay into someone for not doing a favor or a task you’ve deemed as ‘simple,’ you’re completely erasing their experience and further stigmatizing their specific challenges. There isn’t one person alive who has a blind spot when it comes to how to do things. We all have our challenges, and some look different than others – if you don’t know someone very well, who are you to tell them they should’ve done it?
I definitely know I’m rambling on this post, and I’m not even sure if I’ve made the point I set out to, but I really do want to call attention to the fact that when it comes to mental health, simple rarely means easy. It sounds like a simple problem to fix, but I’ve been thinking about this for ten years – so it must not be an easy one to solve.