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Lunch and Learn

If you read my post history, you may remember that BurnerParents are somewhat of a sticky point when it comes to me seeking treatment for my depression. I know it’s an excuse, that I’m a grown-ass woman, etc., but it is what it is.

I met up with my mom for lunch today. The topic of antidepressants came up.

“You don’t need those. Do you?”

I downplayed it, as is my wont. “I mean, at some point, probably.”

She looked at me and said, “Can’t you just work through it?”

I didn’t say anything to that, because what can you really say, but she immediately followed it up with “If you can get off the couch and go to work every day, then...”


I interjected, “That’s surviving, not living.” (I’m a cheeseball, sue me.)

She didn’t really see a problem with that. To her, surviving is really all there is. She’s not a happy woman, my mother. But she used to tell me that she always knew, ever since she was a girl, that she was not going to be happy. I think she sees nobility in suffering silently.

So maybe a hidden bonus of being biracial is getting to experience two different sides of a problematic mental illness shit sandwich.


My father is Korean and, since the complicated relationship between Asian parents and mental illness (especially in first-generation immigrants - my father came over when he was 9) has been expounded upon at length in other arenas, I won’t really go into that here. Suffice to say, mental illness does not exist in this particular sphere. But do not mention it. Ever.

My mom, on the other hand, always likes to reference what Freud allegedly said about the Irish.

This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.

This is a pretty common trope, referenced in The Departed and in the below bit by John Mulaney, one of my favorite stand-up comedians.


So the point of all this rambling is that I’m sad. It makes me sad that my parents are so dismissive of people who take actions to start getting better, including me (when I’m ready). It makes me sad that they feel that they need to face all their problems alone.


Enough about me. If your parents or other family members give you shit about your place in the mental health journey, this space is for you too.

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