The template of the meme consists of two WikiHow stock images: one with someone looking at a bottle of pills with a label that says "Hard to Swallow Pills" and another with the pills already in the person's hand, ready to be ingested.
People download it, slap a text of what they think is a universal truth on the second picture, and upload it back on the Internet, waiting for upvotes. And we often have to give it to them. Quite a few of these memes capture some universal law, most of which we know but don't want to accept. Like, "some of your problems are your own fault, and won't get better until you actively do something about it" or "you can't make someone love you."
Bored Panda has compiled some of the most popular Hard to Swallow Pills, so continue scrolling, check out the memes, and upvote your favorites.
Clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Mary Lamia, Ph.D., thinks that the notion that one is “in denial” seems to have taken on a life of its own as an agent of many ills and as a catchphrase for people who dismiss the implications of their behavior.
"Although denial is considered to be a defense often used by people with addictive tendencies, its attributions reach beyond those struggling with substances," Lamia pointed out. "Denial is also attributed to people who do not want to acknowledge that bad stuff is occurring in their lives, such as those who are attempting to cope with a tumultuous relationship, a life-threatening illness, obesity, a loss, or anything else that one may attempt to disavow."
Sure, we can deny a fact, deny responsibility, deny the impact of our actions, or even deny what is really going on by hiding from our feelings. But according to Lamia, when we use denial to defend ourselves or cope with what we feel, we contradict the reality of a situation or attempt to adjust to a circumstance by neglecting its impact. However, the extent of someone’s denial may not really be the issue at hand.
"What’s important is not that people recognize their denial, but that they are able to accept what they are feeling that leads to the denial in the first place," Lamia explained. "If someone excessively and habitually uses alcohol to medicate their anxiety, for example, we might emphasize their attempts to dismiss the harm that their use of alcohol will cause, rather than focus on the emotions they feel that motivate their denial. If that person stops drinking, one would hope the emotions that were formerly hidden by denial, which often have to do with shame, would be exposed and accepted by the individual."
We not only use denial to hide from any negative emotion, including shame, fear, guilt, or distress but to mute positive emotions as well. "Sometimes feeling positively may be just as threatening as negative feelings. We may want to deny the reality of our emotions, because accepting a reality that is uncomfortable, painful, or incongruous to what we expect means we must also alter our perception of ourselves. Thus, if you are in denial, perhaps you are simply trying to ignore the truth about what you actually feel, rather than about what you are doing or thinking."
But if you want to move forward, you have to swallow the truth.