My Anxiety Admission is Not an Invitation to Sell Me Something

anxiety, depression, mlm, multi level marketing, direct sales, network marketing, pyramid schemes, mental health

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Whether you call it multi-level marketing, direct sales or network marketing, these type of businesses have been around for almost 130 years. They entice you with a start up package and promises of becoming rich beyond your wildest dreams. While many won’t admit it, there is a level of brain washing that happens. I can say that because it happened to me… multiple times. Everything you hear, no matter how false, becomes truth. The more you get involved, the more that story will become embellished and by the time it reaches the next person, it’s more fiction than it is fact.

Like a lot of people, I’ve signed up for a number of these companies. And while it was fun to find a group of people that were like me, with big dreams, I never really achieved the financial stability they spoke of, because in most cases, I was spending my earnings PLUS my own savings, buying the products, in order to make my monthly goals or to win trips or other incentives. I promised myself that I would never get sucked into another MLM… until the next opportunity of a lifetime rolled around.

Since I’ve been sharing my battle with anxiety and depression more openly on social media, I’ve been bombarded with messages from people. Most are encouraging and super supportive, but there are the ones that I just can’t keep my mouth shut about any longer. These messages are from people who tell me that the answer to my mental health issues is joining their MLM, or in some cases, just buying some of their products… miracle products.

I’m not joking.

I get them regularly. And while some masquerade as people trying to genuinely help me, I can see through it all. Let me explain. Most of my anxiety and depression comes from the fact that I’m super overwhelmed in my day to day life. Since my husband lost his job last April, I have been the sole supporter of our family. I work 14-16 hour days (sometimes even longer, if you count the hours I lay in bed, thinking about what I need to do the following day). I’m exhausted. I love that I’m able to do something that I love, but I fear that I will burn out if I don’t slow down. Of course, I can’t slow down, or we can’t pay the bills, or eat, for that matter. And so, my stress and anxiety level are through the roof on most days. On the other days, I feel defeated and can’t leave my bed, which of course, doubles my workload for the following day and starts the pattern all over again.

So when I comment on a post on social media with something very raw and in the moment, like “I’m feeling super overwhelmed today and my anxiety is pretty high”, I don’t expect a response. It’s just me, releasing my feelings. It’s how I cope. When I get the messages from other Mamas who suffer in silence, and they share their stories with me, I’m grateful. It’s nice sometimes to know that you’re not alone. I’ve built some incredible friendships over the last couple years with a number of ladies that have reached out to me, after a post or comment I’ve made. We have found a commonality and feel comfortable enough that we can go to one another when we are having one of those bad days. I am grateful for each and every one of them and I hope that I continue to connect with other people who are struggling.

What I don’t expect, and what honestly irritates me, is when I get a message like the one I got last week…

“Hey, I just wanted to reach out because I saw your comment on [@ignameremoved] and I can totally relate with feeling overwhelmed! First I just want to say… you got this! I am so impressed with all you are balancing. Second, I have been there and I don’t want to be intrusive but I want to share with you what I am doing because I have finally found my direction and overcome the constant anxiety that was occupying my brain for too long! It has been two faceted for me. 1st, it was a life changing nutrition program and 2nd it has been the tribe and culture I have found in [MLM company]. (Yes it is network marketing and I have always been anti but I so, so happy I took a chance on myself and this business.) I would love to share more with you if you would like to hear it… Once I went all in on [MLM company] it gave me my direction and I finally felt content with that direction! Anyways! Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing! You are amazing! I hope to be in touch!”

I’m sure you can read this and take it in many different ways. For me, it started off great, but as you get to the middle of the message, what I see, is someone who is using my mental health struggles for their own financial gain. And while this isn’t the first message I’ve received like this, it was the one that finally caused me to speak up. My response wasn’t an angry one, it was me trying to provide a different perspective as to why this is not a good approach. After trying to sell me a second time, she unfollowed me and then disappeared, convinced that she had done nothing wrong.

Opening up about anxiety and depression is not easy. In fact, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s gotten a tad easier over the years, but it still takes so much courage to click that send button, no matter how many times I’ve done it in the past. I’m afraid I’ll be judged. I’m afraid people will look at me differently. I’m afraid if I admit it, I’m giving it power. But I do it anyway because sometimes you need to speak it, to release it.

And while I have always supported my friends and their businesses, whether it’s an MLM or not, I finally need to publicly explain why this method shouldn’t be used. Ever.

Would you seek out someone in a wheelchair and tell them that your product will help them walk again? I’m willing to bet that 99.9% of people wouldn’t, because giving someone false hope like that is wrong. SO WRONG. And while I’m not comparing myself to a person in a wheelchair, my mental health issues have debilitated me in ways I never imagined, including not being able to leave my house for a number of months.

While this company or product may very well have worked for you, telling someone who is already struggling with every day tasks that adding to that list, would help them, really makes no sense. What we need is support, someone to listen, someone to encourage and someone who has advice to lessen the stress.

I’m not saying that you can’t make a living through an MLM, in fact, I do know a number of people that do very well. But I can tell you that those people are not using these tactics. Instead, they are building relationships with people the right way. Using someone’s health condition to make money, whether it be mental or physical is wrong.

Please stop doing it. 

And if you genuinely want to reach out to people who are open about their mental health issues, I encourage you to do so, but without expectations. See how you can help. Give them encouragement. Never do anything just because you might get something out of it. A true kind heart is genuine, not masked in a sales pitch.

What do you think of this approach?

Using someone's health, physical or mental, for finanical gain is wrong. Stop using this tactic to make money. It's so wrong.

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. I understand your frustration. I am very anti-MLM. I said no to all the MLM companies for over 25 years. To my surprise, I joined a MLM company 7 years ago. After suffering with incurable condition, severe pain and depression for almost 7 years due to work injury, I never thought some nutrition could get rid of my pain and all the medications in 4 months. My kids’ seasonal allergies, sports injuries, even my mom with stage 4 cancer got great improvement. I still hate MLM. I actually said no to the lady who shared it with me. But because she didn’t give up on me and helped me, I feel like I need to open my mouth to share the blessing. I went through so many rejections. Some people thought I was trying to get money off from them. Handful of people believed my motives, and they are happy with the products they use. I have seen my mom from almost dying to living healthy. I have met people who actually got off wheelchair. So there are truly life-changing products out there. No I am not a millionaire like some people in the company. It’s not a big company, but it’s been around for 32 years. The company was funded because of the life-changing nutrition product. For 7 years, I only made $2000-6000 annually. Not enough to call it a business. Before using the products, I was on disability, but not anymore. I thought I could make this into a business, but realized that I am too shy and mentally weak to do this kind of business. I have a strong desire to help other people, and I feel bad not to share this with others. I found your post while I was searching for information on MLM Depressiom. It’s such an irony that my depression from pain got better, but I have new depression from MLM rejections. So what I wanted to tell you is not all people are trying to sell you stuff. Some people genuinely believe that it might help you too. Depression and anxiety have so many different causes, so it might require more than one approach. Nutrition can help, but it’s important to look into the sources and find solutions. I hope both you and I can find solutions.

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      Author

      If I’m being totally honest, I find what you’re saying to be very contradictory. You can’t be anti-MLM and also be a part of an MLM for 7 years. I was a part of a number of them. I don’t have anything against those trying to support their family. What I do have issue with, is using someone’s health issues, whether it be physical or mental, and trying to convince them that by using your MLM product or joining your MLM team, that they will be instantly cured. That’s wrong and should be stopped. No one got out of a wheelchair or was cured of stage 4 cancer because of any MLM product. Please stop spreading these false and misleading messages. It’s irresponsible.

  2. Be it MLM or a retail store, we expect quality products that are fully disclosed what they do.
    Forcing anything on any person is an act of violence.
    The only way to protect ourselves is to to be fully aware of such ignorance attacks to sell us something for the sake of making a buck.

  3. People into MLM are some of the biggest scammers in the world. They have no morals and they put on a facade and do whatever it takes mentally to get you to trust them so you can pay them. Scamming.

    Its horrible because if you are vulnerable and dealing with something emotionally and mentally the last thing someone needs is to be scammed out of their money which will really make anyone spiral out of control. MLM is just so wrong!

  4. I highly agree with this approach. I always wonder what happened to us to always front money before anything else!

  5. Oh I’m so with you. I feel like I can’t say anything that’s going on in my life without someone trying to sell me something. When my son was in the hospital was the worst. I try to give the benefit of the doubt and tell myself they really are trying to help, but it feels like they are taking advantage of a horrible situation.

  6. I hate when people jump and prey on people because they think the person is vulnerable. I love this piece, thank you for publishing!

  7. These types of practices seem to be characteristic of MLM and NM. They continue to do it because it works on a substantial number of people. I don’t take it personal any more. Just the nature of that type of business.

  8. I have people do this to me all the time! My shoulder was bothering me, I just complained on Facebook, suddenly I had someone PM me that plexus would help with that and try to sell me a little pink miracle drink. It’s not great when being sold to by a friend. Part of you wants to help your friend, but a big part of me, says no, leave me alone I’m your friend not your customer.

  9. I get a lot of DMs about opportunities I’m just not interested in. It’s sad to think that people are so desperate for business that it comes to this.

  10. That is so inapropriate! It’s awful someone would use someone else’s honesty about their mental health as an opportunity to push or sell anything. Agh!

    I’m glad you spoke out. And applaud you for being so open and honest about your anxiety. It’s good share the ups and downs (social media often only shares the ups) and it helps to remind us all that we aren’t alone. Those people genuinly connecting with you are better for it.

    Sending so much love your way hun ♡. I hope that things are brighter and more relaxed very soon.

  11. I love that you are venting about this. It is so annoying to get messages like this that are playing on your vulnerability. Keeping seeing through the bullshit sister! Aloha!

  12. That is pretty bothersome, for them to use people’s struggles to sell products. I totally understand your frustrations.

  13. This is a great article, this needed to be said. I don’t like it when people try to turn a health issue into an opportunity for profit. Thanks for speaking up!

  14. I hate it when you know someone from before then they won’t contact you for a long time then all of a sudden, you hear from them just to offer you some insurance or networking projects. It’s annoying sometimes!

  15. I hate how at times people will use a situation to sell you something – which in the long run, can make things worse for you. I know it does when people see my anxiety or my weight and just ask if i want to join.

  16. That is so true! I wish people could be more sensitive about other’s feelings even on social media.

  17. I couldn’t agree more! I wish people could be more sensitive about other’s feelings even on social media.

  18. I think that it really helps if you share your concerns and issues. I for one, prefer to bottle it up myself. I need the help of someone really asking about it so I can share it.

  19. I hate when people try to sell anything to everybody no matte what! It’s annoying! I hope it won’t happen any more!

  20. That is so annoying! I feel like it isn’t a genuine response. It is probably why I don’t succeed in sales. I refuse to prey on people.

  21. I completely agree with this. I hate it when others try to sell you something in situations like this. I’ve had the same thing happen, but with another situation.

  22. I think so many people are clueless when it comes to showing empathy online. We are all trying to survive and sometimes stuff comes out the wrong way sadly.

  23. WOW! All I can say is wow. It’s so unfortunate that people will use this type of tactic for their own gain.

  24. This irritates me to no end! If it was a person whom I known, I would have, as politely as I could, told them thanks, but no thanks. If it were someone I didn’t know, I would have reported them for spam

  25. When I read the very first lines, I thought, “Yup! This is how they try to get you-give you positive compliments (edification), then hit you with the old sales pitch”. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to make a sale.

  26. I think it’s horrible when people try to capitalize on another person’s problems – whatever they may be. It’s so opportunistic.

  27. I couldn’t agree more. Any person’s struggle isn’t something to use to sell them a product. If they want something, they’ll go find it.

  28. It always annoys me when people are trying to gain financial means off of something that is bad in my life. It makes me all the more motivated not to use them.

  29. I wouldn’t appreciate that either – it’s basically doing the opposite of what someone opening up needs! I think people often underestimate the power of listening, validation and compassion without expecting anything in return from the person you are listening to.

  30. Ugh, yeah, I get people asking me to join too. Usually from Instagram. They’re like, “HI sweetie, want to join my team?” and I’m like, “No sweetie, I don’t know who the heck you even are!”

  31. The tactics people will use to sell their products is unreal. One needs to just know what to say or ignore them

  32. This is so interesting and helpful for so many who are being marketed to on a daily basis. I hope this reaches the people you intended to get to.

  33. How terrible (not to mention tacky) that people would do that! People are unbelievable sometimes. I am glad that you stood up for yourself in that situation.