It’s Good to Talk

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So World Mental Health Day was yesterday and I joined people in my immediate circle and online in talking about mental health and the importance of talking about it. But I’m posting today because mental health isn’t a topic that should be reserved just for discussion on October 10th. Mental health affects people every day, in ways we do and don’t hear about, and it simply isn’t good enough to ignore it for 364 days out of every year.

My nearest and dearest know about my struggles with anxiety to a point. Sometimes it becomes so hard to explain that you either feel like you’re going in circles or dramatising, especially when the trigger for a particularly bad day or night is unclear. Online I’m very vocal about mental health and the problems that can arise from assuming that if someone is smiling then they’re clearly doing just fine. A smile doesn’t mean everything is OK. If, like me, you’ve learned over the years to deal with anxiety, depression and panic attacks then you’ll also have learned to put on a brave face to show the rest of the world, because the sad truth until very recently is that mental health has always been a topic to keep quiet about. A topic with a stigma attached to it.

You can still sit in a doctor’s surgery and see leaflets about every illness under the sun apart from mental illness. Doctors still wear doubtful expressions when you explain your symptoms. Diagnosis takes a long time and a lot of jumping through hoops (see also: women’s and gynaecological health). Taking medication is seen as doing something weak, when it’s no different to taking a painkiller to combat a headache. When we finally treat physical and mental illness the same in the wider world is when progress will truly have been made.

But things are changing. People are talking more, to their friends and to therapists and to strangers online (hi, like this post for example) and in doing so the wall separating those who struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar, identity disorders, etc etc etc from those who don’t is crumbling. It’s becoming more commonplace to discuss how we feel and how things affect us. And I want to continue that conversation every day, not just on the days which start with a hashtag. Even celebrities are opening up about their struggles, and I really admire those who use their platforms to encourage and help others through sharing their own experiences. But even more so, I admire every single person who has struggled for waking up today and carrying on, because that takes some super strength.

My inbox is always open to anyone who needs it.

How are you feeling today?

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  1. October 11, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    That tweet at the bottom… that’s SO true. If I may tell a small story here: I remember, I felt SO BAD one day. That kinda day where you’re on the verge of tears (I have abusive parents). I went for a walk and was sitting there in the rain. This random lady whom I’ve never seen before stops as she’s walking by and asks ‘is everything okay?’ She didn’t leave until she was certain I was fine and honestly I cried for a while after she’d gone. That kind of kindness is amiss in this world and it REALLY made me feel like I am not worthless.

    I hope you’re doign well, too!

    • October 12, 2017 / 8:29 am

      Oh that’s so lovely of her, what a great person. We definitely need more kindness like that in the world. I remember a similar incident when I was crying at the train station in Newcastle and someone came up to make sure I was OK. It’s such a small gesture but can mean the world. You are definitely not worthless, and I hope you’re doing better now ♥

  2. October 11, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    Great post! You’re so right about taking drugs for mental health being the same as taking painkillers for physical pain. Hopefully one day it just won’t be so taboo.

    • October 12, 2017 / 8:20 am

      Exactly. Nobody judges anyone for taking painkillers or, for example, thyroid medication but when medication is required to combat depression, anxiety and the like then suddenly it’s seen as a weakness or something to be avoided. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

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