Let’s Talk About It.
The reality is we all probably know someone who has struggled with mental illness. It may be a close family member, friend, colleague or indeed yourself. If you don’t, the most likely reason is that society have made depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues taboo.
For too long mental illness is something that has been kept secret. Even sufferers can find it difficult to acknowledge.
If you have, or suspect you have, a mental illness talking honestly and openly about it can seem impossible.
But there are lots of reasons why speaking about your mental health is fundamental to getting better.
Firstly, the more you hide it and the more you bury it deep inside you, the more you can start to believe that it’s just you. We can promise you that it isn’t just you.
Secondly, the more you hide it, the more serious the problem can become. This can lead to more serious physical and mental health conditions later on. So the earlier you seek help the better.
Having the courage to speak out can help you feel better in yourself, and more accepted by others. But never feel under pressure to do so if you don’t want to.
There may be things you’re wary of when you do reach out.
You may fear a negative reaction. But the energy you’re using to hide a problem may be worse for you than any possible reaction. If there is a negative reaction it more than likely will only be an instant one and will disappear as you explain the situation.
It’s important to remember that where mental health is concerned it doesn’t matter what your CV is or what your bank balance is, mental health is part of all our day-to-day lives, it affects us all, and any of us could struggle with it. Mother, brother, partner, friend, colleague or student.
Self-advocacy can be very powerful. The courage you have shown to come forward can have positive impacts from those around you. It can also reach people who are going through similar experiences.
Our mental health is just like our physical health, the one can’t work without the other. We have to take care of it, nourish it and protect it.
Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all. We can change any stigma by talking honestly and openly about living with mental illness and being open.
As one of our volunteers David recalls
“I remember when I was in hospital, some of my friends came to visit and we just took a Frisbee out into the hospital grounds and chucked it about. Such a simple thing, but it meant I knew my pals were on my side and they still cared about me even though I was having mental health problems.
These kinds of little gestures can mean the world.”
Having a mental health condition can be a lonely place, but speaking out shatters the lie that everyone else is ‘normal’.
What you may not know is just how much you’re not alone. Every year, 25% of people will experience a mental health problem.
That’s why it’s not only good to talk, it’s fundamental.