17.5.15

Mental Health Awareness Week 2015




I wanted to write a post for Mental Health Awareness Week but every time I sat down to write something I couldn't decide on what to write or how to write it. I think in order to be able to write mental health, you have to first be able to understand mental health, and although I know what it means for me, that doesn't mean it applies for everyone else. Everyone suffers differently, no two people are the same, every mental health condition is unique, and the sooner doctors, nurses, the general public realise that, the sooner we will be able to find treatments, and the compassion that we seem to have lost somewhere along the course of our existence. I don't mean you and I individually, but humans in general. Too many of us have stopped caring about those around us, and are only focusing on number one, but if we were to actually take two seconds of our day to look up from our phones and smile at another person, we could make a huge difference.



I was going to write about my own experiences, but there isn't much to tell when you have a GP that doesn't believe in Mental Health, and an over crowded healthcare system which left you on a waiting list for nine months before sending you a discharge letter, when you never even received the initial assessment. I didn't tell anyone about my issues, and even today, I still haven't told that many people, partially due to fear, partially due to not wanting to believe it, but that doesn't mean I don't suffer. Like many of the people out there, I suffer(ed) in silence. It's a scary thought having to tell people that you are sick, but it's an even scarier thought knowing that people will treat you differently just because of the way your brain is wired. More needs to be done to educate people about mental health. Governments spend billions on educating people about Cancer, and most people can name a handful of charities/organisations that are dedicated to Cancer, or your heart, or animals,  or even for charities that help out overseas, but I have found that the only people that really know anything about mental health or what is being done for sufferers are the people that see it first hand.

 I am not trying to say that mental health is more important than Cancer, because I don't believe that in the slightest. instead I am saying that all healthcare issues should be treated with the same amount of respect and that people should be able to have access to a fair and equal amount of information regarding all illnesses. The same effort that goes into curing cancer, should be given to mental health. Mental health kills too. It's a sad fact, but it's true! And many of the people that suffer from another disease often develop depression - a form of mental illness.  The lack of knowledge available to people is a scary thought - everything I know about mental illness is from what I haven learnt online via talking to other sufferers, and how they coped with their illness. I hate to think where I would be now, if I hadn't of decided to look online, instead of relying on a health service.

I believe that a key part of understanding something, is by listening, so I compiled a list of  all the things that I have learnt over the years, from listening to others as well as myself. If you take one thing from this post, let it be the following bullet points.

  • We don't want to be babied, or constantly asked if we are okay if we look a bit down.
  • We don't want to be asked 'have you taken your medication today' if we're in a bad mood.
  • We don't want to be treated differently. 
  • You saying 'I know how you feel' can be REALLY patronising. 
  • Just because We have a mental illness, does not mean we are incapable of looking after ourselves, OR another person. 
  • Sometimes we don't want to do stuff - this isn't because we are lazy. 
  • Every person is different, so their mental illness is also different. 
  • WE are not broken. We do not need to be fixed.
  • We don't always want help.
  • Sometimes we just want you to be near, whilst we try to fix ourselves
  • Don't be a judgmental asshat. 

If anyone wants to talk, or discuss anything, then please know that I am always available to help with anything. You are not alone, and although I am not a trained professional, I have done pretty well helping myself over the years, whilst most of the professionals I have seen have done didley squat.  

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