Friday 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day // A Ramble

Today is World Mental Health Day, and I thought I'd put together a post (warning, it'll be long) discussing my thoughts and experience of mental health issues. There's always been a stigma surrounding mental illness, although slowly but surely this is changing with the help of celebrity-backed campaigns and days such as today.

I have personally seen what mental illnesses can do to people; without going into detail so as not to publicise anything that people might not want me to, members of my family and some of my closest friends have been torn apart by depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Mental illness can strike down even the strongest of people, and it changes your life forever. Even if you recover from the illness itself, there are mental and physical scars that last a life time.

One thing I have heard that particularly sticks in my mind is the phrase "Be kind to all, for everybody you meet is fighting their own battles." - this resonates so strongly, because people with mental illnesses tend to share one common trait: hiding their feelings. I think we are all guilty of this to an extent, bottling things up until we can't cope with it any longer. To those with particularly prominent mental illnesses, small things can seem like very big things - so it's important to understand that people aren't always just overreacting for no reason, and that sometimes people simply cannot help the way they feel. If you meet somebody who seems like they need a little bit of extra love, try your best to do what you can and be what they need.

The stigma behind mental illnesses is something that truly baffles me; you wouldn't shun somebody who had the flu, cancer or a broken leg - so why turn down people who are begging for the help they need to overcome an illness of the mind? When someone has a mental illness it is not their fault, and never their choice, and they deserve as much support as anybody else.

Mental illness can take so many different forms, and most of the time there's no reason: it just happens, it just is. If you're struggling, or you're worried about yourself or somebody close to you, speak out and get some help. You are never alone, and you don't have to suffer in silence. There will always be somebody willing to help, willing to listen and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure you're okay; never underestimate the power of people.

If you take one thing from the ramble, then it's be kind to everybody; as hard as that may be, show kindness when somebody is pushing you to your limits, because they may have already reached their's. I'll leave some links at the bottom of this post to people/organisations you can reach out to - I'm only an email away, too.

Some helpful links:

Samaritans -

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