Talking honestly and openly to a doctor about mental health can be scary, especially when one possible outcome is being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Fortunately, 31-year-old Anita Rodriguez has figured out a super-simple life hack to help her get the medical care she needs: By bravely downplaying her aggressive and terrifying symptoms to make sure that everyone else feels safe and cool!
“Recently, I noticed that whenever I was being really honest about what I was thinking or feeling, my doctor would start saying things like, ‘Yikes’ or ‘Maybe you should go to a psychiatric hospital?’” says Anita. “So eventually I realized that if I just didn’t tell her all the bad things that were in my head, she wouldn’t say stuff like that!”
Anita’s technique is easy. Instead of saying something true but upsetting, like “I can’t stop thinking about eating glass” or “I don’t want to be alive anymore,” she downgrades it to something that’s easier for a medical professional to handle, like “I’m feeling a little blue today” or “Ouchie! My brain is frowning!”
“For example, last week, I felt like I wanted to die, but instead, my psychiatrist and I just talked about Succession for 45 minutes,” says Anita. “And that was fine. It was definitely… fine.”
Doctors everywhere have been impressed by Anita’s radical approach to vulnerability.
“Instead of saying things that make me uncomfortable, Anita just kind of lets me know she’s not in a great place,” says Dr. Amy Townsend. “And that doesn’t upset me, because that could be anywhere. Like an Arby’s bathroom!”
But not everyone agrees with Anita’s approach.
“We have a serious mental health problem in this country,” says Meryl Taylor, a psychiatrist who also suffers from depression. “When patients feel that they can’t be honest with their doctors because they’re worried about being judged — or, worse, involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital — then they aren’t able to get the medical care they so desperately need.”
Anita, however, begs to differ.
“I’m fine,” she says, chewing on a strand of greasy, unwashed hair. “I just liked and shared a few Instagram posts about how we need to normalize depression, and now I’m going to spend a few hours relaxing in bed and thinking about the meaninglessness of life.”
“I mean… I’m going to do some yoga because I’m fine,” she adds.
At press time, Anita was adding “no worries if not!” into the first draft of a suicide note.