Seems like a pretty fitting time for World Mental Health Day to roll around. I wasn’t going to post today but I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to write about something so close to me at the moment.
Honestly, I don’t think I truly understood the impact mental health issues really have until I experienced it myself; and I still don’t believe that mental health is given the attention or consideration it deserves.
In the beginning I felt embarrassed and ashamed about how I was feeling and I think that’s why I kept it bottled up for so long. I’m lucky that I’m now in a very supportive relationship and have a great family, that make me feel comfortable enough to open up. I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support that has been shown by friends, family, colleagues and even strangers.
Having said that, mental health still seems to be a topic we avoid, particularly with men. Even some doctors seem reluctant to talk about it. I understand that some people find it awkward or don’t quite know what to say, I get it because that used to be me. But in a time when mental health seems to have more of an impact on society, it’s time we stop the stigma.
To me, it’s really important that I share my journey because I know I’m not alone. An old friend reached out to me recently because of a similarity they found between what I was posting and how they felt. That was so inspiring to me because you never really know who is suffering and it goes to show how many people you can reach by speaking out.
Just because someone doesn’t dress all in black or have bags under their eyes or look ‘sad’ all the time, doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling with something. Often it’s those types of people who try to cover it up the most, but you never really know what someone else is going through.
So if you know someone who is suffering with their mental health just be considerate. Be a friend and let them know you are there for them. Chat to them about anything, we don’t always want to talk about how we feel. Most importantly, remember they are still a normal person.
For anyone suffering or experiencing mental health problems right now, know that it’s ok not to be ok. However cliche that may sound, it’s so true. Just accept that there are some things you need to deal with, but they do not define you. It’s still ok to feel sad even if you’re life is great. It’s ok to be tired or lack enthusiasm. It’s ok to not know what you’re doing. But know that you don’t have to deal with this all by yourself. You’re not alone. Help is out there.
If you want help or want to help someone else, there is loads of advice available at mind – the mental health charity.