Ever felt like you have had a bad day? I am sure you have had more than one, maybe you had a head-ache or perhaps a sickness bug? Well imagine if throughout your day/week or however long you had it, you were constantly told “just to get better or get over it” …can’t imagine that saying being supportive or understanding? Well imagine how that sounds to a person suffering from Mental Health, be it depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders or OCD. The message here is simple, do not try and assume to know somebody else’s circumstances or situation, you may believe they appear fine on the outside, which they may do, however on the inside they could be full of hurt, anger or loneliness which isn’t always made obvious or shown.
Many times, I have seen a big stigma against Mental Health sufferers, sometimes it is so bad I wonder how these people even dare to post what they do. Just getting better isn’t as easy as it sounds for those with Mental Health, it can be challenging and harder for some than others. Some may have a bad few days, some a few weeks whereas others may display and experience different symptoms, such as: isolation, withdrawal, negative thinking, unsociable, loss of appetite, self-harm, loss of hobbies and many other symptoms and these can last a lifetime; not every person who suffers from a Mental Health condition gets 100% better, it is very true that the illness can last a life-time, this is why not judging but instead trying to understand is better.
Witnessing the stigma around Mental Health isn’t easy, you get great people who help support Mental Health and encourage awareness and understanding and then you get those who bully, mock and try to victimize the people suffering from the illnesses, why does this happen? It certainly is not needed and often makes it a lot worse. Interestingly despite 1 in 4 of us suffering from depression or another Mental Health condition during our lifetimes, there is still a big worry about people being open about their illness, they fear that their friends will not be their friends any-more or that they will be laughed and joked about in their working/social life. Sometimes it is easier not to say anything, but then not saying anything can be worse as any possible understanding of the illness will not be around, that’s if there was any to begin with. And why shouldn’t Mental Health be openly discussed? It is nothing to be ashamed about, it should be understood. Surely the shame of Mental Health, should be the stigma around it? That is the real problem and the real reason why many with it feel they cannot speak up and get help, they feel alone and it should not be like that.
After building my website, beatdepressiontogether.webeden.co.uk back in 2012, I decided to write and share my moving journey with depression and anxiety in my new, debut book, Teenage Depression Versus Me. #teenagedepressionversusme it annoyed me to see that there wasn’t enough support for teenagers and young adults in the shape of understanding, support and guidance. I was bullied and verbally attacked because of my Mental Health and it did hurt, still now I think about the unnecessary abuse I received for not being the same as the others, I felt alone and isolated myself. It isn’t easy coping with depression and anxiety, so I can relate to this. My book offers a support guide to teenagers and young adults experiencing depression and anxiety and shares the many downs I had during my teenage years, I include my years of being bullied, my attempts of suicide, the isolation I had, the friends I lost because of my Mental Health, the way I changed because of my illnesses and much, much more! If you know somebody who may benefit from Teenage Depression Versus Me, here’s the link to purchase it:
Educating others on Mental Health should be a top priority for our local councils, schools and education environments, employers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against their employees with Mental Health either, but be made to accept them just as much as they do other employees. Schools should be fighting to get Mental Health taught on curriculum all over the country and the government/council should be making this happen; especially as Mental Health, particularly depression is on the rise in young teenagers who are getting little or no support at all.
I strongly urge you to consider what you say to someone experiencing Mental Health, be there for them by all means, but don’t expect any immediate change from your help. It can take years to feel understood and part of reality sometimes, remember those with illnesses never ask for them but instead they are given to us. You didn’t ask to be sick and we didn’t ask for Mental Health, so just remember that when you try to ask someone with the condition to “get better or just change”, it’s not that easy!