This week, from 14th May until 20th May, is classed as Mental Health Awareness Week. As one of my favourite mental health campaigners said yesterday:
While it’s amazing to have an entire week dedicated to mental illness, please remember that mental illness is long-term and doesn’t end when the awareness week is over. We need to keep talking beyond that. (@HatttieGladwell)
You guys know that I choose to speak openly about how much I struggle with my mental health but someone left a comment on my Twitter the other day asking why and whether I mind that there is a stigma attached to it. First off, I wanted to say that there is no stigma at all. Maybe there was in the past but compared to then, we are living a much better life. However it’s because of what happened to us in the past that some people are still too scared to chat about whether they have a mental illness or not. It could be due to their religion or where they life such as people in Japan.
I think one of my advantages is that my mum was a nurse and so I was exposed to different aspects of nursing including mental health. She raised me up to see past what was wrong with people and not to judge them for what was happening to them. I’ve had a couple of people in my life who have suffered from depression and paranoia so, when I was diagnosed with my own mental illness, I knew that I had to be open. Sometimes our own mind creates a stigma! It’s such a pain in the butt all round. All that said, I will admit that my Mum did struggle when it came to mine since I think it’s different looking after your own daughter instead of just a patient.
It is super nerve-wracking to be honest about these things. I do worry that the trolls will suddenly hit me and target my mental health but the fact that I’ve been tweeting for years about it and have managed to get away with only a couple of pokes is a good sign. Though, this is Twitter we’re on about so you never know when they might pick the moment to strike. One of my relatives said that I should probably be less open as someone could use my illness against me and trigger me on purpose. I’ll tell you what I told her: “If I thought about that, then I would never step foot on the internet out of fear of triggering myself or triggering my friends.” That is what trigger warnings are for!
If the internet is too much, then I make sure to stay offline.
Having an mental illness is a 24/7, 365 days a year gig so you try and grab moments of the day when you’re able to function. Like yesterday, for example, I had a pretty good morning where I was able to get out of bed, get changed and go get some food. However the afternoon went right downhill after something happened and I ended up having to head up to bed in a bit of a state. It’s another reason why I’m not ashamed. Would you make someone in a wheelchair or any other physical disability feel ashamed about themselves? No. The same goes for someone like me, whether it’s hearing from other people or from yourself.
Never be ashamed.
Are you doing any posts for Mental Health Awareness Week?