photos > mental health

Recently I fell victim to online abuse – yet again – but this time I didn’t let it trouble me quite so much. The whole notion behind the upheaval was regarding photos in relation to mental health. As you can imagine, this really touched a nerve,  I wrote a post roughly 2 years ago in response to someone commenting: “You don’t even suffer from depression, you smile in all of your photos”…(I know, right?)

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I was not letting someone do this again. It’s these lousy attitudes and it’s this stigma that has to stop. These uneducated, irreverant and attention-seeking comments are extremely damaging and triggering for mental health sufferers.

In recent years, I’ve never really been one for sticking up for myself, but when it comes to something I’m passionate about: MY mental health – you can bet I’m not going to keep quiet; I will not let someone belittle me, question me or my experiences, or try to tell me what I have and have not been through. 

Not only did I respond, fighting my own corner, but I had to stand up for every other mental health sufferer who is not quite ready or able to defend themselves yet. This is what’s important to me.

I remember being scared to post photos online after I shared my battles with depression, struggles with anxiety and laid myself bare for the world to see (not literally, but in some ways, you could say that this metaphor is relevant). So, I posted a photo in a bikini, what of it?  Because I’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues I’m not entitled to be happy, or like myself, at all? I’ve not to share photos of me embracing myself, enjoying myself or being who I am because of my illness? What do people want? Photos of me crying, photos of me in my bed after my fourth day of not moving, washing or sleeping? No photos of me at all? 

It might sound ludicrious but that’s how the negative comments and nasty attitudes pan out in my mind: that negative world that I live with day in and day out. That mind that I battle and fight constantly. That mindset that I’ve grown used to. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone but I want to say one more thing before I get back to the main point, well issue, here. So let me just say this: Do. Not. Ever. Challenge. A. Mentally. Ill. Person.

If someone suffers, or even ‘claims’ to suffer from MH issues, do not ever think it’s OK to tell them they don’t or try and test that. This is terrifyingly triggering. I know. This is when the vast ocean of the mind sweeps up all of the suicidal thoughts right to the forefront of your mind and tries to take you away with it. This is when all of the nasty jellyfish in your head sting away until you can’t take the pain anymore and you stop fighting the waves and let the ocean take you… 

I was told just the other day by a really hostile girl who was in the year above me in school that I did not suffer from mental health issues. Alright then I don’t suffer from mental health issues. I just got diagnosed nearly four years ago for the hell of it. I went to psychology for a year, and counselling for nearly 2 years, just for the fun of it. I stayed in my bedroom for months and months on end, not leaving my room to even sit with my parents downstairs, because I was totally ok. I wrote a book about my MH journey because I’m just so blessed I can make that shit up. I help other people DAILY because I totally haven’t experienced what they have, and I can offer support, and advice… you see where I’m going with this?

I know what I’ve been through and it is through my own experiences that I can not stand by and let someone ‘test’ someone else because it’s so dangerous. It’s wrong. It just shouldn’t be happening.

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I’ve kind of lost the thread with this post (it’s a subject close to my heart) but everything I’ve said is totally relevant and is staying exactly where it is. Nobody should take a photo at face value. Just like nobody judges a book by its cover. Do not assume someone is ok because they are smiling in a photo. Do not assume someone is body confident because they share a photo in a bikini (maybe they shot a great angle, posted it to pretend to feel good about themselves, to get a bit of a positive reaction hoping it would better their view on themselves). Do not assume someone is happy in a relationship because of soppy photos. Just don’t assume anything. We live in a world consumed by social media and people feel like they need to post to stay relevant and connected to the world – this doesn’t always mean that everything is as hunky-dory as it may seem.

I’ve had a good ol’ rant today, haven’t I? But I needed it. Truly. I’ve started my journal again, properly, because of all of this business because it triggered me so much and I feel like there ain’t a soul on this earth who I can talk to. Properly. So I try to help others, in the only way I can, and it lifts me up a little by doing so… just, don’t assume ok?

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15 Comments

  1. sunshinesarahxo
    May 10, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    You know you can always talk to me babe i am always here for you. I can understand how you feel though just because someone is smiling it doesn’t mean that everything is fine i know that more than anyone.
    Love you sweetheart 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

  2. May 10, 2018 / 8:58 pm

    You look absolutely gorgeous, your figure is amazing! As someone who has dealt with issues in mental health, in various forms, I love when people speak out about it. Chin up lovely girl – K xx

  3. May 11, 2018 / 6:44 am

    You make so many good point here! Such a powerful post about a topic we need to be talking about more. And really well written. You can post what you like, you look amazing. I admire you for your strength not only posting this but being so open about it x
    Menna
    mennarachel.com

  4. May 11, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Love how you are sharing so many great pics recently as your body is amazing xx

  5. May 11, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Love this post. People think they have a right to judge and question your mental or physical health. They have no idea just how difficult it is to speak out about your experinces in the first place never mind having someone question your illness. You are amazing for standing up for yourself and rightly so. You are beautiful and strong, screw the haters!!!

  6. May 12, 2018 / 1:00 am

    You made really great points in this entry – love it! And I love how confident you are with yourself! Be proud!

    cabin twenty-four

  7. May 12, 2018 / 9:39 am

    I remember seeing that on Twitter! It was utterly ridiculous. I don’t think photos have any relevance to mental health. Sometimes we take photos; either of ourselves or something else to actually make us feel better. I know I do! But does that mean I don’t “really” have anxiety? Heck no xxxx

  8. May 13, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    It’s easy to assume about people’s life as we can never know what’s going on behind the camera- I wish people were more careful about what they say on social media! xx

  9. May 13, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    So sorry to hear that you became a victim of mental abuse! You are so much better than those people. Love that you’re not letting it get to you, respect and adoration! :)x

  10. alohalola
    May 14, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    I can’t believe some people! So much goes on behind a smile. And don’t worry you’re not ranting, ignorant statements from people can do so so much damage (god, I know!) And they have to be called to account. There is still so so much learning to go as far as MH is concerned x x x

  11. May 17, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    People can be assholes all the time, challenging you and not believing you. I wonder why they do that?
    Is it because other people’s pain makes them uncomfortable and they want the thought of it being there gone? Maybe they are frustrated with their own lives in some way.
    It still does not make the reaction OK though! When I burned out people told me just to nap for a week or two and I should be fine. I like to call these comments word vomit. Because they are nothing less than that.
    I wish people would take the advice you give. Do. not. assume. anything.
    There are a lot of people out there that give real support too. Which i am really grateful for. Recently I opened up to somebody and she said. All you need to do is call and I will just listen.
    This is just the best and most loving attitude one can receive here in my opinion.
    Charlene I send you all my compassion and love. I think you are so brave for putting yourself out there.
    I am sorry people have said such hurtful things. And if you ever fancy a chat, do not hesitate to find me
    http://www.rainbowsdreamcloud.com

  12. May 18, 2018 / 8:30 am

    I think it’s amazing that you can share these thoughts – it isn’t easy to do! People never know what is happening in other people’s lives. Mental Health is really tricky, because it might look like you’re ok to the rest of the world, but inside you’re hurting. You are a really brave, lovely person and if you ever need to talk let me know – I might be on the other side of the world, but I am just a message away. x

  13. Firstly – I’m always here if you need! 🙂 Secondly, I thought that person on Twitter’s behaviour was ridiculous – it’s so inspiring that you post photos, you will have helped so many people by showing both sides of the coin; sometimes you get to be happy with MH and sometimes you really, really don’t; so why shouldn’t you celebrate when you feel like yourself? Feeling heard is so crucial when it comes to MH, but just know you are heard, and you have a whole big community supporting you!
    Kate x
    http://www.findingkate.co

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