Pronounced: toh yeh smooola
That’s Czech for “that’s bad luck” or “that’s too bad”.
I was raised by outwardly pleasant but inwardly negative, childish parents who mostly ignored me and my feelings unless somehow it would benefit them to pay attention to me. I heard the phrase To je smůla a lot growing up. I often still hear my inner little girl thinking it to herself as she watches me stumble and fumble my way through situations other people seem to glide through effortlessly; other people who were raised by genuinely loving and supportive parents.
I know, I’m a grown up and I’m responsible for my actions now. I can’t keep blaming my parents, holding them responsible for my choices today. Shitty childhood? To je smůla. Suck it up, sister.
But here’s the thing. Yes, I am responsible for my choices and actions today, but everything in psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy tells us undeniably that our actions today are influenced and guided by our unique perceptions of the world which were created in childhood, shaped by – guess who – our parents. We come into this world with no notions about anything. Our understanding of the world and our own place in it is molded by our parents. It’s a simple fact. And we carry that through the rest of our lives.
As an adult, it’s my responsibility to fix what they broke. I take complete responsibility for that and am doing my very best to tackle it piece by piece because, quite simply, I want to be happy. I don’t want to wake up every day feeling hopeless, finding relief from the sadness only by imagining the different ways I could bring my life to an end because the mountain of problems my parents have gifted to me through their own dysfunctions feels entirely inconquerable.
And this ridiculous society we’re living in tells me to go buy ‘stuff’, get a better job, car, outfit, haircut. Better meds. No meds. More exercise. More wine. But whatever you do, DON’T tell people you’re depressed. Because nobody really wants to hear it, and let’s face it: our society doesn’t care. Proper therapy costs a fortune and is out of reach for most of us. Free therapy is stop-your-crying therapy that doesn’t get to the root issues so doesn’t actually effect any sustainable change. And employers just want you to keep your mouth shut and keep performing – exceeding expectations, increasing production, surpassing sales targets. At the end of the day, our society doesn’t really care about people, and it sure doesn’t care if you’re happy or if you’re ‘ok’. Just don’t cause trouble and keep paying your taxes.
So what happens to me, and people like me? I am described repeatedly by people as happy, positive, strong, confident, funny, smart. I’m considered middle class, successful, personable, a good friend. To tell my story, I need to create an anonymous blog because I’m just not brave enough to ‘come out’ to the world. I just don’t actually believe people care, and I don’t believe they can help. And to think I’m just one of about 11 million Canadians who aren’t getting the help we need for our mental health issues. To je smůla.
Statistics about mental health in Canada: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/newsroom/for_reporters/Pages/addictionmentalhealthstatistics.aspx