Am I mental?

I believe it’s important to talk about our mental health. Actually no, I don’t believe it is ‘important’, I think it is needed. I believe it is NECESSARY to talk about our mental health.

Talking saves lives.

Talking saves lives.

Talking saves lives.

In the last few decades, mental illness has shed some of its stigma. People now talk more openly about it; they are prepared to seek treatment for it. And yet, there is still a culture of silence surrounding mental health. Often we are not prepared to deal with the ‘invisible’ challenge.

Even the term ‘mental illness’ suggests an element of control that sufferers don’t have. Because if it’s a mental illness, then it’s in your head, right? Someone who suffers from depression should ‘just be happy’, someone who has an eating disorder should ‘just eat’, someone who suffers with anxiety should ‘just stop worrying’…

Yes, I am about to pre-empt that little thought popping into your mind, asking why this is necessary….. So here’s why (you were asking okay)… it’s because your sister has depression, your co-worker has an anxiety disorder, your best friend has post natal depression, your neighbour has PTSD, your hair dresser is bipolar, your manager is depressed, your friend has a drug problem… the list goes on. It’s because we are surrounded and supported by people who are suffering with their own mental health. Yet we choose to silence them, leaving them in the shadows.

It’s time for us to change the way we think about mental health issues, it’s time to stop putting our hands over our ears and start listening.

As a society, we must take responsibility for putting our fears aside when people indicate they are in crisis, giving others permission to keep talking, and allowing people to share their load. Perhaps, instead of putting the onus on individuals to talk about their mental health, let’s educate ourselves, ask our friends and family about their mental health, and start a conversation.

We need to create a platform that reminds us that talking about how we FEEL is okay, more than okay but necessary. We need to create a safe space that allows honesty, raw emotion and real life. We need to remind ourselves that having a difficult day is normal. We need to remind ourselves that recovery is NOT linear. We NEED to know that we are not alone.

From experience, the day I spoke about my struggles with anorexia nervosa and PTSD changed my life. Genuinely ! changed ! my ! life !! The day I felt comfortable enough to speak honestly is the day I caught a glimmer of hope. It is the day that started to live MY life again. It is the first day I felt courageous and it was the first time I had ever felt proud of myself.

Talking about my mental health gave me hope.

Talking about my mental health saved my life.

Talking about mental health is necessary.

You deserve to talk. You deserve a platform. You deserve hope.

Love E x

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