Recently I watched a video from Anna Saccone Joly that spoke to me on a personal level and has inspired me to write this post. It’s been something that’s playing on my mind for a crazy amount of time and I’m finally ready to address this.
Anna’s video was about her own personal mental health following a lot of abuse on social media. I have witnessed this abuse and have seen time and time again, people telling her how she shouldn’t be making money off viewers, how she’s fat, how she loves one child more than the other, how she doesn’t care about her family and so on and frankly it’s disgusting but this isn’t the point of my blog post.
I’m writing this post to address the issue of mental health. Anna talked about how mental health isn’t something that’s talked about and it’s still an illness as real as having a broken limb. Just because you can’t physically see something doesn’t make it any less real, serious or scary for the person suffering with it.
As you probably know from my previous posts I suffer from anxiety and have done since quite a young age. My mental health plummeted around the age of 15/16 and I had to attend counselling. I am on the mend but I still struggle every single day with anxiety. It’s always something that’s going to be there but I’ve learned how to help myself and look after myself so I don’t end up back where I was.
Throughout my particularly bad times I became very antisocial and missed quite a lot of school because I felt like I physically couldn’t get out of bed. I know anxiety is a very misunderstood illness so I want to just clear up that yes I was physically able to move from my bed but I felt as though something bad would happen and I was so overcome with feeling down, terrrified and exhausted I didn’t feel I could move. My family and friends were often disappointed at my apparent ‘laziness’ as I tried my best not to talk about how I was feeling therefore they didn’t know the whole story. I was told at times just to wise up or stop being lazy or just to get on with it which in no way helped the situation and often made me feel worse.
I suffered from multiple panic attacks a day to the point where even going to theatres, my favourite place in the world, was a no for me and I spent most of my time alone in my room. I felt very left out although that was partially my own fault but a large reason I had let myself get so secluded was because I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone.
Any time I spoke about my anxiety people gave me a look of ‘are you serious?’ And brushed it off like I hadn’t said anything. No one seemed to understand that I was suffering with an illness and it wasn’t just me deciding to be this way.
As I’ve gotten better and recovered in so many ways, both regarding anxiety and other issues, I’ve become a lot more open about how I’m feeling. I know my limits and most of the time if I really don’t think I can handle something I speak up. This still draws looks from family and friends and still leads to their disappointment and it makes me feel awful.
I shouldn’t have to feel awful about having a mental illness.
I shouldn’t get told that I’m being lazy or I’m overreacting or I’m being too sensitive because those things are simply not true.
I don’t want this post to become about the faults of my family and friends because for the most part they’ve been extremely supportive in a really crappy situation for them too. I couldn’t wish for better people to have around me.
I want this post to be about the taboo subject of mental health problems. Mental health needs to be talked about just as much as physical health does. So many people in this world suffer from mental health problems and people don’t know because they don’t see it. This then leads people to dragging others down because they don’t have physical evidence laid out in front of them that this person has an illness. People can be so nasty about it and it’s so unfair.
If you are suffering from a mental health issue I urge you to talk to someone. Don’t bottle it all up like I did for years. Put it out there. Fight off those looks or those comments you get because you could be the start of changing people’s beliefs and ideas of mental health. You could be the person that leads to someone else, 10 years down the line, being able to talk to their friends or family.
Mental health is not a joke. It is not something to hide. It is not something that you can ignore. It is not something that you can just get better from.
Mental health is a real thing and mental illnesses are just as real as a broken leg regardless of whether you can see them or not. Be aware of the people around you and think before you speak in response to how they’re feeling or thinking.