Over the last month or more there is something that has really been on my mind so following on from my recent Instagram post with regards to Mental Health Awareness, I thought I would head on over here to get my opinions down in writing in my little space that I occupy on the World Wide Web! After all, that is what a blog is all about no?
People may or may not always agree with what I have to say and that is absolutely fine. It’s my blog and I write my thoughts and life experiences down. You don’t have to like it and you certainly don’t have to read it. With that said I am writing about a sensitive subject today and would love to know your thoughts or even experiences with what I will go on to talk about because I find it very interesting what you all have to say also.
I won’t beat around the bush and get straight to my point. Mental illness or poor mental health is not a joke. It never was and never will be so it angers me incessantly when people use it in a ‘jokey’ way. It is neither cool, funny or OK to call people ‘crazy’, ‘psycho’, ‘mental’ or any other words linked to mental illness in a derogatory manner or as a means of insult. It actually reflects more on the person calling others names than it does on the person it is being aimed at. It is in fact a very serious illness that should be taken far more seriously than it currently is because people that take part in this behaviour, in my opinion, are part of the problem.
Why people find it funny or even acceptable to behave in this way is beyond me. By calling someone a psycho, saying they are crazy or making fun of someone that you know does actually suffer in some way with mental health could actually be a trigger to that person and potentially cause a huge downward spiral. You might think I am over reacting but unless you have either experienced any form of mental illness or poor mental health, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and all that goes with it yourself or alternatively seen someone close to you affected by this then you probably wouldn’t understand but that by no means gives you the right to be that narrow minded that you should use any of these terms as a way of firing shots.
In my opinion it can be on some levels comparable to cancer in the fact that it can’t be always be treated and can (and does in a huge amount of cases) result in death. You would NEVER laugh or make a joke about cancer or use it as an insult against someone who is either fighting the deadly disease or died because of it so why is a mental illness any different?? Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Mental illness is the biggest reason behind male suicide in the UK and the recent death of Mike Thalasitis should show that you can have glitz, glamour, money and what looks like an amazing lifestyle and in reality be struggling so much that you can’t see a way out.
I have a number of friends who suffer from various levels of anxiety and it upsets me that I can’t be more help to them. It’s a very complex thing for someone to go through and there is so much stigma surrounding the topic that makes people scared to talk out or seek help. This needs to change! The amount of messages I got after my recent post on Instagram surprised me in some ways that people who didn’t know me reached out but also saddens me to see just how many people are suffering on their own. Even a number of friends messaged that I didn’t know were struggling and it breaks my heart to feel so helpless but I made sure they knew I was there for them whenever they needed me. Even if some were over 1500 miles away.
I lost a close friend due to a mental illness and it really upsets me that I will never see her again. She was an absolute ray of sunshine and always a delight to be around despite the battle she was fighting daily inside for so many years. In the end her body couldn’t fight any more and the mental illness ultimately cost her, her life. I often read her last message to me which I cherish dearly as she felt like she could confide in me and be open about her struggles. One of the things she said in that last message was ‘thank you for never judging me’. This was important to her because I never let her illness define her and certainly never ever judged her, I only ever willed and prayed she would get better. It was also important to me that she knew this and for that the message means a lot, it’s like she knew she couldn’t go on much longer as less than 2 months later she was taken from us far too young.
There are coping methods that can help triggers and anxiety attacks but not everyone is the same and what works for some might not work for others. Some people find CBT very helpful. There is also IESO if it is available in your area it is definitely worth looking into and trying out. Confide in a friend or family member, have the courage to speak out if you are struggling. It isn’t easy but dealing with these issues on your own can be much harder. Go to your doctors if you feel you don’t have others to turn you. Someone always cares, email me if you want an impartial chat. Sometimes even just speaking about it helps. Cry! It’s OK to cry and it’s actually a stress reliever and can help you to release some of the anxiety and tension in your chest. Sometimes you might cry and you have no idea why you are crying or the particular cause, this is normal but you do need to seek help or it will only get more difficult. There are always answers and just try to remember no feeling you have is finite. It will go away, yes it may come back again but it is not always going to be like that. It can and will get better and no feeling you have lasts forever.
If you need a little help there are so many places to turn. Below are just a few of the options:
Mental health helplines
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm)
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm)
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0845 120 3778 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm, and 2pm to 5pm on weekends)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm)
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum