Imagine you go out one morning to drive to work, the same way you always do. You get in the car, key the ignition, and –
The engine’s not even turning over. Nothing’s happening.
You try it again, and again.
What do you do?
Do you tell the car how grateful it should be, how there are hundreds of other cars that are never washed, never have a nice shiny new air freshener hung from their rear view mirrors? Do you remind it of the “luxury valet service” it had last month? Do you go on about how much money you’ve spent on it, how much you’re relying on it?
Do you call it lazy, selfish, negative – or do you call a mechanic, understanding that something’s wrong, and needs to be fixed?
Every car is a little different – my grandfather’s first car, for instance, didn’t do hills. My parents’ first car didn’t do puddles of more than two inches depth. Back before I was diagnosed with the health issue which means I can’t drive, the Micra I toyed around with had no concept of “reasonable steering”, and the handbrake never fully released.
But none of these cars had “anything wrong” with them – aside from their little quirks, they worked fine, passed MOTs, and gave good, if somewhat intermittent, service.
We understand this about cars – why not people?
If someone has a mental health issue, it’s not because they’re a “negative person” – their mind has quirks, it can be a little temperamental, and, sometimes, this leads to interruptions and frustrations to their journey through life.
But it doesn’t make them broken.
None of those cars could be fixed, no matter how many mechanics had a look at them.
There was nothing wrong with them – their drivers just had to accept their quirks, and work with them.
People were here before cars – shouldn’t we try and understand them better?