As I write this blog post, I’m under the duvets, the dim light of my phone hitting my face, the night rather old. It’s another sleepless one for me, by the looks of things. The whole New Year period always gets me reflecting on life. The past 12 months and the 12 yet to come. It can often play on my mind about the state of my mental health.
I’m not one to shy away from the topic of mental health issues, because I was silenced and alone growing up. I know just how important it is for people to speak out and with a hell of a lot of experience, I try to put a silver lining on a dull and grey cloud by helping others.Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to numerous friends from different walks of life and tonight it really just made me realise; mental illness cares for no one. I have friends in highly respected jobs, which if you were to look from an outsider’s point of view, they seem to have the perfect life. But when they invite you into their little private bubble and let down their guard, you see the reality. The last couple of years has seen a rapid increase of diversity within my friendship groups. Young, old, rich, poor, religious, athiest… and there’s something quite distinct about what many of them have in common; mental health struggles.
You see, it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire in the making or a teenager sitting exams, mental health issues can impact everyone. And we should never have to feel alone. I hate the fact that more often than not, people comment on someone else’s struggles. “She shouldn’t be depressed, she has a lot of money.” “He shouldn’t have anxiety, he doesn’t have much going on in his life to be anxious about.” “They shouldn’t feel suicidal, they have their dream job.” It’s so important that we erase the other differences from the picture. No matter what your background or your story, it can impact us all the same.
It’s been over 11 years since my initial diagnosis and the rollercoaster of a journey has been exhausting, emotional and overwhelming. But as time goes on and I meet more people, I realise that I’m even less alone than I ever thought. If I could go back 11 years and show my younger self that what I face is not uncommon and I’m not on my own, I think things could have had quite a different outcome.
So, while I may not have a New Year’s Resolution, I have a promise I intend on keeping to myself and anyone I can help, to raise awareness of mental health, the importance, the battle against stigma and the signposting to people to places, communities and organisations that they can get help. To tell the tale that even though it can feel as though the fight is lonely, we are actually in an army. Taking the reigns together and all floating in the same boat. We shouldn’t ever have to feel alone, especially when we’re in such a personal fight against our issues.
I hope that you decided to read this entire post, because the moral of it is that you, the person reading these very words, are not alone. And you should never have to feel that way. Because even if you fail to see the others around you in your position, I’m here. With you. And we can do this. Together.
- Mind UK
- Meic Cymru
- To Write Love On Her Arms
- Mental Health Foundation
- Mental Health America
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