Let’s talk about mental health. That’s a sentence I don’t think we hear enough. As human beings I can guarantee almost every single one of us lies almost on a daily basis. When someone asks “How are you?” and you respond with “Fine thanks”. None of us are every just fine, we’re so much more than that. But we feel like we’d be crazy to respond with the truth, something along the lines of “Well I haven’t killed myself but I do feel like life is crushing me more and more by the second and I’m not sure how much longer I can take it”. We know, or at least we think we know, that people will treat us differently if they knew how we were really feeling about life. But the truth is that the person who asked you how you were is probably about two seconds from lying right back to you. Imagine how much better you’d both feel if you connected on a level of true honesty about the fears and anxieties that we pretty much all go through. We all have different lives, experiences and thoughts but the beautiful thing about human beings is our ability to relate and empathise. The evidence to this is everywhere from the way people get emotional over YouTube videos and films to the way we humanise things like cars and dogs.
People feel like there is a stigma attached to mental health, but the only way to defeat that stigma is by directly addressing it and talking openly about our own issues. To educate the uneducated and to help those who suffer in silence. For me it was depression, I felt alone and isolated in a world with over 7 billion people. The world is huge and to try and take it on alone is a near impossible task, especially given it’s history of throwing things your way when you least expect them. Life is unpredictable and so are we, that includes our thoughts, feelings and even our actions. I was afraid of talking to people about my depression and to certain people I still am. I suppose it’s because I’m afraid of how they’ll react, will they treat me differently? Will they start worrying about me? I’m sure other people feel the same way too. We’re overly confident in our abilities to predict how other people will behave. I’ve had a lot of people that I have spoken to about my depression respond in a really heart-warming and honest way and have had lots of conversations with people about mental health since starting this blog. A lot of people have said I’m brave for talking about it. Which is something I find quite sad really. To suggest something is brave sort of acknowledges that it’s out of the ordinary. I don’t want to be brave for doing this blog, I just want everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health and the annoying thing is I think everyone else wants that too. But it doesn’t happen because life is shit sometimes. But the more people start being honest about how they feel and really talking to people the better it’s going to get. And the easier.
The generation that I’m in (I’m 26) has seen a lot of wonderful changes in liberalism and acceptance of each other like legalisation of same sex marriage, huge changes in drug laws (admittedly not in the UK) and huge movements in LGBT rights, wouldn’t it be amazing to see more people taking steps towards ending the stigmatisation of mental health issues. I take anti-depressants, I’m not ashamed of that. I still feel like I can’t talk to my family about my mental health and I am ashamed of that. I know they would be supportive but like I said I think I’m scared, it’s the ultimate acceptance and final nail in my depression. But it’s all part of who I was, am and will continue to be. I know my family would accept that and anyone who doesn’t belong in my life.
Thanks for reading and I’ll speak to you tomorrow.