This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek; You have probably seen numerous blog posts all about it and seen the hashtag on your timeline front, left and centre. But isn’t that the way it should always be? We should always be encouraging people to openly talk about their mental health.
For those of you who suffer from Mental Health issues, I bet you wish that the society we live in was always as responsive and supportive as it is right now, during this awareness week. I am wholeheartedly all for Mental Health Awareness and I think this week is a step in the right direction. I just can’t help feeling like next week, or the week after, I’m going to be down in the dumps and nobody is going to care. Nobody will notice. Nobody will be encouraging me to speak out. I don’t know. Perhaps that’s just the mind of a Depressive.
I feel like the world that we live in is starting to do more about Mental Health and is attempting to reach out to vulnerable people but will it ever be as accepted as physical health? (I’m genuinely curious to know what you all think about this so please pop me a response in the comments)!
I want to share a personal snippet from my life with you all, it’s a long story really, but I’ll cut it short (as this could lead to a whole other blog post in itself):
My mother, the loveliest and kindest soul you could ever meet, was diagnosed with Cancer last year. Breast Cancer. It was totally unexpected. Needless to say it broke my heart. I very seldom shed a tear in anyone’s company but that day I cried in my mother’s arms and couldn’t fight back the tears. It was soul-destroying. She got through it – WE got through it together as a family unit. Mum, Dad, my brother and I. The immediate family. Of course aunties and cousins and people who hadn’t spoke to my mum in ages were calling up: asking how mum was, saying they would be there, did she need anything etc? Everyone was there. Everyone cared. Now here is where I am going with this…
Mum was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was in my early years of primary school. She was in and out of hospital; Almost wasn’t allowed out for her Wedding day. It’s been tough. She lost her job. She had two young kids. The pressure was on my Dad. It was a real shock. It was tough. Over the years Mum has had breakdowns, down days, too much medication, not enough medication and so on and so forth. Sometimes, people who are meant to be close to my mum call her up and ask her how she’s doing? Mum will say ‘not too good, I’ve been feeling a bit down today’ and they brush it off. Move on to another subject. Completely dismiss this. WHY? This is what I am getting at. Why are physical elements always treated so differently from Mental Health?
I am in no way, shape or form comparing Cancer to Mental Health. That’s not what I’m doing here. Here’s another example. Now and again I take to Twitter or Facebook to portray my emotions and I try and open up about what is going on in my head. On several occasions I have been called out for ‘attention seeking’ or ‘moaning’ etc. But it’s perfectly normal to share that you’ve broke a bone or banged your foot but it’s not OK to tell people how you’re feeling? Again. I don’t know. This is just my thoughts.
#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek is a good thing. It is. I think it’s wonderful that people are writing blog posts about it, sharing their thoughts and feelings with friends and followers, using the hashtag, raising awareness in all different ways – I just would love, love, love for people to keep this up all year round. It would be so heartening to come on to social media every day and know what someone gets it. That someone is always going to be there to support you. That people understand. You know?
The next time someone phones you and tells you they are feeling a bit blue: acknowledge it. Please. Ask them if they want to talk about it? Ask them if they maybe want to do something? Or just let them know that you are there if they need you to be. It’s not much to ask. And it makes such a difference. Believe me.
Keep using the hashtag everyone, read the blog posts that you see on your timeline, respond to people’s tweets when they pluck up the courage to speak out about what’s on their mind – you can make such a difference without even knowing or realising it!
Lots of love
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