Today on my way home from work, I did my usual, I sat on the train, travelling home and I checked my twitter stream. I read a few blogs, and I commented, and then I came across a post on TheBloggess.com
I read it, albiet very quickly, and then emailed myself the link to go home and read properly.
I came home, and I did the mundane things, like make my dinner, put a load of laundry in, tidy up, and then I sat at my computer and I read, and I followed the links, and then I cried. (It also did not help that I had decided to play some Celine freaking Dion. Reading a heart-wrenching post whilst listening to “My Heart Will Go On” isn’t the most clever of things I have ever done, I’ll admit it.)
This post is about speaking out, not being afraid to ask for help or advice.
This post is about Mental Illness.
Research has shown that there is a stigma attached to mental illness, there shouldn’t be. Why are we, as a society, afraid of this? There is nothing wrong with having a mental illness. There is help out there, and treatments, places for advice, people to talk to. Speak Out! Get Help! Don’t be afraid. There are people out there who care. Who want to help.
Only last month I read a newspaper article about mental health issues, and I tweeted this.
I was shocked, hence my WFT?!? at the end of my tweet.
One one hand we have Society attaching a stigma to Mental Illness, and on the other hand we have 1 in 10 under 18′s describing Mental Illness as “trendy”.
Talk about difference of opinion!
Why are 1 in 10 under 18′s thinking that Mental Illness are trendy? Why is it cool to say things like, “OMG I am so depressed” or “Yeah, couldn’t be dealing, so I used my dad’s razor on my leg”. (please note I’ve never heard any person use the 2nd phrase, if I did I would be encouraging said person to see a medical practitioner!)
Did You Know?
- 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and one in six experiences this at any given time. – The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001)
- Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men (29% compared to 17%).This could be because, when asked, women are more likely to report symptoms of common mental health problems. - Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics (2003)
Yes, some of these statistics go back awhile, but they show something. There is a lot of people in the world who have mental health problems. These are the people who have sought help. What about those who haven’t? Why are we afraid to seek help? What can we do to pull down the barriers around this type of illness? How can we stop Mental Illness being stigmatised?
When I was 18, I went through a phase where I felt sad, depressed and I did bad things.
I was lucky enough that I pulled myself together, and I stopped it. I stopped my destructive behaviour. It lasted 2 or 3 years, before I lapsed back, and I hid it well, then one day I decided I couldn’t continue so I saw my GP. He listened, I cried and poured out my feelings, feelings of unworthiness, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of dispair, suicidal thoughts. I was diagnosed with Depression. I didn’t blog about it. I didn’t really talk about it. I took the pills.
I made jokes about being part of the Prozac nation. I eventually stopped taking them, and even though I sometimes have bad days, and I think about hurting myself to see if the pain is real, or thinking of how I could die, or what would happen if I did, I stop. I remind myself of the positive things in my life, and I stop.
I have friends and family with various different Mental Illnesses, and I’ve seen them deal with it. I’ve been their shoulder to cry on, their punch bag, there to listen to the sobs, the rants, the manical laughing, the person who calms them down, talks them out of doing things they’ll regret, gives them advice. Show them love, and support and that I care and that they are important.
If you live in the UK, and you want help, there are lots of places online for information and advice.
If you live in the USA or Canada
You can also contact your General Medicine Practitioner.
If you know someone who needs help, or advice, please don’t stand by, let them know you care and are there for them.
If you think you have a Mental Illness, please, Speak Out.
Posted by becca on January 24th, 2011 :: Filed under Depression