I’ve decided i’m going to write a bit of a series, about all those things no-one really wants to talk about…..There are lots of topics as society that we don’t really talk about or when we do the view is hugely polarised. This series aims to just get us talking about these things. I hope my personal experiences are insightful, or useful, or help others with their struggles. But let’s get this straight – it’s not about me. Well it sort of is, it’s my blog, but I’m not writing for your pity or sympathy. I’m writing so people can see the reality of these topics.
So, let’s talk about mental health.
In May we had Mental Health Awareness week – lead by Mind, which did a great job at getting people talking and sharing stories and supporting those around us. But I think we still have a massive way to go.
But I think within the UK media and UK society mental health is polarised into two camps; traditional stiff upper lip doesn’t exist sort yourself out AND glamorize trivialized made to look desirable.
Personally I have only experienced iteration one; the stiff upper lip, but I have seen, mostly on social media, the false lure that sits around having a mental health condition.
I am 25 (26 in 2 weeks) and I have diagnosed; sleep maintenance insomnia, complex grief – different from depression i’ll cove that separately, and anxiety. Not all of my friends know this. My employer does not know the full extent (my choice). I tell very few people of this.
I limit people’s knowledge of this primarily because I don’t want people to treat me any differently. Those people who believe mental health is imagined, is not to be talked about, is just the ‘millenials’ feeling sorry for themselves, those people judge you. You see it in their eyes, they look into your soul with a fire that says ‘snap out of it’, ‘theres nothing wrong with you’, ‘grow up’. They do not understand, and they do not wish to understand, it’s not to say these people aren’t compassionate, they just don’t view mental health as an issue – it doesn’t enter their spectrum of values.
To these people life is just about ‘getting on with it’. But here’s getting on with it; I go to work on three hours sleep because i’ve woken every hour. It’s crying in the car in the car park at the supermarket as a wave of grief so strong hits you it’s like a tsunami. It is avoiding people, places, situations that you know will make you anxious because you just can’t deal with it.
Do not make these people make you feel unworthy. Your mental health and well being is for you and you alone to judge. If you can’t get out of bed, that’s ok you need the time. If you need to have a day alone with no people around, then great if that helps you do it!
The second fraction of attitudes towards mental illness is possibly the most worrying. It makes mental illness desirable. It glamourises it. It trivialises it.
We should talk about mental health, but in a truthful way. In a way that highlights the highs and lows. The reality is not pretty. It doesn’t make for pretty pictures on Instagram. It’s tough. It’s challenging. It’s life altering. It takes toll on your family, relationship, work, home. Every aspect of you life.
So, let’s talk about mental health.
Let’s talk about it in an open and honest way that helps those feel safe to share and discuss their stories and support others.
Talk to me? Talk to anyone? Talk to someone on the bus – maybe not! Talk to your GP. Your mental health is just as important as physical. If you had a sprained ankle you wouldn’t leave. If your brain is sprained, why leave it?!