The Fight Continues

World Mental Health Day has finished; Mental Illness hasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, World Mental Health Day is fantastic. It promotes discussion and listening and reminds the world of a very common problem in our world today. Stories and tips and quotes are shared. But we need to remember to keep talking.

As I scroll through the tweets from a few days ago, my heart lifts a little at the wonderful talking and listening all across the world. But then my thoughts go back to the comments of 'Cheer up!’ and 'This isn’t you!’ that were said to me not by even by ignorant family members, but by mental health workers. And just this week. The reality is, the stigma is still there. And although the general public have fallen silent about mental health, mental illness is still just as prevalent as it was a few days ago.

The fact is, fighting mental illness and tackling emotional difficulties isn’t an every other day thing. Fighting isn’t just when you feel like it. Keeping going isn’t every now and then. There is no passive option of not fighting; even if you lay on your bed all day, inside you’d still be tackling everything. For example, with depression, there isn’t a passive choice to not fight, only the active decision to no longer live.

This is the reason that we need to keep talking, day in, day out. It isn’t enough to just put effort into awareness one day a year. The fighters have to soldier on all the time, and to do that takes immense bravery, but also support.

My message isn’t of doom and gloom. My message is that each of us can help give support. It’s really important to remember that even when things are really tough for someone, they can still have lovely times. Yes, they might still feel rubbish, but the fact that someone is just there can be enough.

So, please remember:

  • You’re not going to be able to solve all someone’s problems. But the fact that you’re just there can sometimes be enough.
  • Little things can work wonders. Even a cup of tea can add a little light to the darkness.
  • Don’t force it. Offering opportunity is the best way to go.
  • Remember everyone’s unique. Umbrella terms can give a rough idea of someone’s difficulties, but generalisation is also incredibly unhelpful. Ask, don’t assume.

For the soldiers of internal battles, I won’t go cliché, but keep going. Awareness is rising and if we keep talking it can only improve. And for everyone, please keep sharing and listening, and, most importantly, working together.

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