Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. If you weren’t aware there was such a thing, then, you are not alone. I only knew about it when things started popping up on my Facebook timeline from people show support for it. Probably, like many of you who have active Facebook accounts, most days there are posts asking you to support awareness for one charity, or condition or another. I think there is a day for almost everything, almost to the point of saturation, but when you see something that affects your existence, then passing it on, and talking about it, become important. I am sure many of my online folks get fed up with the number of autism awareness posts I make, but obviously, it is a major part of my life, and many of my friends lives. I will always repost awareness of conditions that affect my friends, as the more you talk about things the less stigma is attached to any condition, and if one more person can find empathy with someone else, then the world becomes a smidgen nicer.
And this brings me back to World Mental Health Day.
I wasn’t aware there was such a thing, and I did wonder if it was just a Facebook repost thing or if it was real, and so I did what everyone does, and I Googled it. I found it was very real, and the website for anyone who would like to read about it more is – http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/world-mental-health-day/ The open paragraph of the home page reads – World Mental Health Day is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy. I thought what a brilliant thing, and then I thought, “Why didn’t I know about this before?!”
Mental health issues are something that affect so many of us and yet it is still viewed by many as something to be ashamed about. Why? Mental health is the same as physical health in that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how much money you make, or the colour of your skin, it is something that is very much part of life. If you have read some of my previous ramblings, you are probably aware that the only reason I am here is because of hitting rock bottom, and seeing no light in my life. I had a loving Husband – and still do, and 2 beautiful children, and I just couldn’t connect with my own life. I eventually became strong enough to ask for help, something I knew I had needed to do for a long time, but had buried the idea, almost wallowing in my negativity. I will often refer to my depression as my darkness, because to me that is how it feels. It is as if all the good, happy, bright things have been extinguished, and all that remains is cold dark negativity. It’s horrible. It is always there, but recognising its existence, for me has been a huge step towards dealing with it. I couldn’t wait the ridiculous length of time to talk to the councillor my GP wanted to refer me to, and instead, it was recommended I talk to someone, anyone, rather than to continue to bottle things up. I am terrible with people, and therefore didn’t want to burden anyone with all my baggage, and I didn’t really feel I wanted to have someone give their personal slant on it, so instead I burden you poor people who read my nonsense with things! For me, it has been a perfect outlet. It has helped me think about things in a way we don’t when they go round and round in your head, sometimes for weeks if not years. By sitting and being logical I can usually see when I am taking things out of context, and while I am sure anyone who likes proper English grammar has a fit when reading this, believe me, there is thought that goes into it!!! I am my own councillor because I read my own ramblings and can almost think about them in a detached manner, I suppose it’s better than the voices inside my head arguing.
I think we all need to be more aware of the battles each and every one of us is going through, because many of us hide because of fear of embarrassment. Mental illness isn’t something we should feel this way about. We need to be able to feel we can say our brains not well today, and have it accepted in exactly the same way we would if we said we had a broken bone. Compassion is all anyone can ask. The change in attitude wont happen unless we as individuals make it happen. You cant “buck up” and instantly feel better from depression any more than you can “suck in” the pain and walk on a broken leg. They both need time, and help to recover.
For me, I am in a good place right now, and I hope to stay there. I do however take nothing for granted. By acknowledging my problems, I am helping myself to accept they are part of me and nothing to be ashamed of.