So today I thought I’d do more of a personal blog post, about the things us people who are suffering with mental health issues wish that they could explain to people who aren’t suffering. I’m really hoping that I can fight a small corner in the war against mental health stigma, and doing posts like these are small pieces of the puzzle, but if they help just one of you feel like you’re not alone, it’s worth it.
So, here we go.
We don’t have to be sitting, crying in a dark room to be depressed.
People seem to think that you can’t possibly have depression if you laugh, and smile, go out with friends, do your hair and makeup, and get up and go and earn a living every day. Depression is a silent battle, as is anxiety. If you weren’t close with me, or I’m sure most people who suffer with their mental health, you probably wouldn’t ever know what they were going through. Yes, if you’re going through depression, you’ll have days where you cry a lot, or don’t want to leave the house, or days where you feel empty and horrendous. But people are strong, and a lot of the time they just put a brave face on and get on with it.
You haven’t done anything wrong.
When you’re suffering with anxiety/depression, the people close to you may think that they’re doing something wrong, or not doing enough, and blame themselves. We want you to know that most of the time, we are just having a particularly bad day with our mental health, and it’s not anything that you’ve said or done.
We aren’t grumpy, we are just struggling at the moment.
We aren’t trying to snap, or be distant with you. It’s just right now, we don’t feel great within ourselves, and we have no motivation to be around other people, whilst we feel like this.
We are not attention seekers.
There is a massive stigma around people who have anxiety and depression that we are ‘attention seekers’. That we are claiming to have these illnesses because we want people to give us attention and feel sorry for us. That is really not the case. Unless you have experienced anxiety or depression, or both like many of us, you will never understand the battle, and how difficult each day is. We wish we weren’t going through this, but unfortunately we are. We can’t change it, and we are trying our best to feel better day by day. Because of high profile people standing up and admitting to struggling with their mental health, people seem to believe it’s the ‘fashion’ to claim you are also having problems. It’s not – no one wants to sit at home and cry because they’re living in fear of something completely irrational, or feel like they’re stuck in a dark room with no way out and they feel like they’ll never be happy again. If someone tells you they have anxiety or depression, SUPPORT THEM! Do not make them feel worse about themselves. They are going through enough as it is.
Having a day where we are extraordinarily happy, doesn’t mean we are ‘cured’
I have experienced the odd person saying that I seem like I’m feeling great and does that mean I’m all fine now. I totally understand why someone may think that, but unfortunately there’s no quick fix for mental health. Most of the time, we will struggle for our entire lives, but things will get easier with the right support. Every day is different; your brain is a complicated thing and also a magical thing, but it doesn’t just change the way it works overnight.
Our mental health doesn’t define us, and we are not embarrassed.
Having depression, anxiety, or both, doesn’t mean you’re weak, or broken. It just means that something has happened to you in your life, which has tweaked the way your mind works, and that’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Anxiety/depression is a part of you but it isn’t who you are. It’s a feature of you, and each day that you get up and carry on, should be celebrated.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and remember, you’re never alone.
All my love BGP xx