The good, the bad and the ugly..

When you live with a mental illness or two, you find that things ebb and flow. Like the pull of the moon on the ocean. 

 Certain things can lift your mood right up and other things drag it so far down. Many people struggle most with the latter. No one really likes a low mood, whether you’re ‘

depressed’ or not, but some people actually struggle with the lighter side of things.

 You see, having depression does funny things to your brain, you begin to think that you shouldn’t ever be feeling happy if you have depression. When you’re coming out of a low slump and feel that little burst of ‘today isn’t that bad’ it can make you feel like a fraud.

Like your diagnosis, ‘your label’ is the be all and end all of your existence and that you should always fit into that stereotype. 

When people say things like ‘you don’t look depressed’ it could be fatal. That person may already be at the end of their tether. Using all the spare energy they can muster to put on a brave face and go out that day and you’ve just crushed everything with 4 little words. 

If you know someone with depression, or someone opens up about their mental illness, try to think before you make a flippant remark. Try ‘how are you doing?’ Or ‘do you need anything?’ 

Those 4 words can make a difference for the better – this gives you one person that cares. One person that is there for you that day and sometimes that is all it takes to change the mindset of a person. 

Please be nice to people, you don’t know what is going on under the surface, behind that bubbly smile. 
Suicide and suicidal thoughts are very real problems that are not as outwardly shown as other things. The death of person simply because they have a chemical imbalance that tells them death is the better option than tirelessly fighting a losing battle. I don’t think we will ever completely eradicate suicide, but we can certainly make huge progress towards making it less common. 
Right now, I’m doing moderately okay. I’m not jumping for joy but I’m also not planning the route the bridge. 

‘Cheer Up’

Oh my good gracious, praise the lord you’ve cured me. Not! 

I don’t think there is a more frustrating phrase to come out of people’s mouths when you’re having a low day and it’s written on your face like some sort of blatant graffitied penis in the school toilet wall. There’s just no getting away from it. I look sad and miserable probably because I feel sad and miserable. 

I’m so glad you’ve managed to come over with that hugely helpful advice though, I hadn’t thought of that. Really. 

Telling someone with mental illness to cheer up is like telling someone with a broken leg to walk it off. It doesn’t work and will likely cause a great deal more pain in the long run. 

It would be better if you asked how I am or is there anything I can do to help. Rather than throwing 2cents of useless, off the cuff ‘advice’ at me that just makes me feel bad for looking as awful as I feel. 

See previous posts about not being a dick.

Mental Health Problems – It could be you.

The mental illness lottery isn’t one anyone wants to play, but odds are you’re going to know someone who was unlucky enough to have their number’s come up.

It’s evident in society there is a huge stigma around having a mental health problem, and that can almost certainly be blamed on the simple fact that people are uneducated.

If I have a broken leg or a cold or some other more palpable condition, the outpouring of sympathies and well wishes amongst the groups I circulate in would be abundant. Now I am not by any means saying that I don’t have a network of support in my life for my mental health problems, because I most certainly do and I am forever grateful for that.

My point is, generally people don’t get it. Depression is often seen as a weakness and in actual fact it’s anything but, do you know how hard it is to act okay when internally everything is falling apart? It takes a huge amount of strength to put that barrier up.

People call me brave because I am open about my mental illness. They tell me I am courageous. I’m not. I am simply a human that happens to have a bit of a dodgy noggin’ – not the most eloquent of descriptions, I know!

 There lies half the problem, it shouldn’t be considered brave or courageous to say it. I am not ashamed of my mental illness, but I used to be. I hid it for so many years. Too many years.
Did you know that it’s estimated 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. ONE in FOUR – think about that. Potentially from 100 people in your life you can stick a big red flag of ‘mental illness’ over a quarter of them. If you don’t think you know anyone that has or had a mental health issue, you are probably very much mistaken, sadly.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it could be you one day. Never in a million years did I think that this is where my life would be as I near my 30th birthday. I was supposed to be married, with children living in our little home. Not stuck in a rut, emotionally unstable and alone 99% of the time – looking forward to the postman knocking on the door so I can get a minute of human interaction from another adult.

The mental illness lottery isn’t one anyone wants to play, but odds are you’re going to know someone who was unlucky enough to have their numbers come up. Don’t be the person they would rather not encounter when it happens. It really isn’t hard to research mental illness, to find out some statistics or even just find out a little bit about some mental health problems. I am not expecting you to become an expert, but a little bit of extra knowledge is never a bad thing. It takes about 5 seconds to type ‘mental health statistics’ into a search engine and ping the world is your little oyster of knowledge, way more precious than any pearl.