This week it is Mental Health Awareness Week, so I thought I would take the chance to promote it and share a little of my own inner demons…
How ridiculous is it that there is still such a stigma around mental illness? Why do some people not recognise how devastating and debilitating mental illness can be? We can’t just shrug it off. We can’t just cheer up. Its not as easy as you think to pull ourselves together or to turn that frown upside down. People with mental health need a voice but its hard to find that voice when its buried under so many storm clouds. I hope that this week will go along way to both raising awareness and teaching people to accept. Perhaps if we remove the stigma then people can finally find their voice and less people will lose their lives to these heart breaking illnesses.
I have suffered with depression and severe anxiety for more than 10 years. It was originally triggered when I was diagnosed with a chronic disease when I was 12. I am stuck in a vicious circle, I need a doctor for my anxiety and yet my anxiety stops me from going to the doctor. Laughable isn’t it? There are days when I can’t function, moments when despair becomes completely overwhelming. Hope becomes lost. I struggle on, I write, I draw, I read. I pour my inadequacies into my poems, my stories. I read hope and take comfort in books.
It isn’t easy. Sometimes just getting out of bed becomes the hardest thing in the world. Some days are better, some days are amazing! Some days I try to shrug it off. But nothing has changed the strange way that my brain works. A brain that is always fighting against me. A little voice that seems intent on arguing with my sanity.
I think that some people sometimes forget that there is far more to mental illness than just depression and anxiety. There are countless mental illnesses, far more than I can list here. Some people don’t even recognise that they have a mental illness. I urge everybody to talk about it, to seek help, to be understanding and help remove the stigma.
And remember that just because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that the suffering does not exist.