We go through life being told to ‘chin up and smile’ because positive thinking can cure all your troubles. Depressed? You will be right as rain in no time, lost a loved one don’t worry time is a great healer. No matter your predicament there appears to be a solution for everything. The truth is ultimately a lot darker and when it comes to grieving, mental health or other related issues I believe that positive thinking is fake propaganda. Now hear me out, how many of you have been told to smile because it will make you feel better only to realize that you are just acting out the part of a character that is not ‘you’. When I pretend to be happy I feel like a fraud but when I am honest about how I feel I am condemned for being ‘negative’. It seems to be an endless cycle I can’t escape and the only way out is to pretend that I am ok. I tell people I am fine when I am clearly not because I don’t want them to worry about me and I want to pretend that I am stronger than people think. Over the last year or so I have been less concerned about hiding the way I truly feel and being more upfront because I believe as an ambassador for mental health it is my duty to be honest and the first line of duty is to admit that it is ok to not be ok. If you are feeling down don’t hide your true feelings because you don’t want to be judged or spend years shrouded in your own negativity because you feel like your mental health is a burden.
Mental health should never be seen as a burden and I want to be able to place more emphasis on government led services such as counselling, therapy and awareness campaigns to rehabilitate mental health sufferers and show them it is ok to ask for help. My own mental state of mind is completely damaged because I was not offered the help I needed nor did I acknowledge that I had mental health issues because I didn’t want to be seen as ‘insane’. As someone whose family has a history of severe mental health issues, I was taught that to be depressed, anxious or exhibit behaviours that deviated away from the social norm was to be abnormal and abnormalities often meant that you would become sectioned. I have an uncle with severe mental health issues and his mental state of mind –despite being in his 40’s- is of someone 20 years younger, yet unlike other family members I never judged him nor did I pity him because he didn’t need my pity he needed the help he never received. When he did something that was considered a danger to society he would be carted off to a temporary asylum and stayed for a few weeks at most before being ‘let off his leash’ yet he was never given the support and counselling he needed. His mental health was often viewed as a joke and people would label him as an ‘idiot’ which saddens me because mental health does not have an impact on your intelligence nor should he be segregated into the role of a cardboard cut-out stereotype. Every few months he will suffer a relapse and so the cycle continues with his health detoriating by the second. I worry about him because I have seen the way that people laugh at him and the society that he lives in sees disability and mental health as something to be ashamed of.
Is our society really so backwards that they must label people with mental disabilities and health issues as ‘retarded’, a ‘spaz’ or ‘stupid’? I despise all these labels because it should be ok to talk about mental health issues without being judged for speaking out and it should be ok to be open and honest about our own battles with mental health. I have spoken candidly about battling with my own demons; my anxiety and depression and my severe perception of self but above all my fear of failure that can stop me following my dreams. After childhood and teenage trauma I found it difficult to rebuild my self-confidence and be confident in my own skin but I found that acknowledging my own mental health issues was the first step to dealing with my demons rather than burying my head in the sand every time the demons struck. And this is the issue; we are taught that hiding the way we feel and acting like ‘normal human beings’ is standard protocol when in reality how can we define normality. One day my uncle appears to be mentally sane and the next he has forgotten how to handle money and is giving it all away or other days he is playing with fire. One minute I feel happy and the next I feel like my world has come crashing down and there is no way out of the darkness. But this is the point I am trying to make; stop trying to label mental health as something to be dismissed and stop discouraging men, women, girls and boys from coming forward and being able to step forward with candor.Its ok to not be ok…
What Are Your Thoughts On Mental Health?
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