It’s not going to be an overly long post, and I’m going to try my best not to ramble, but I found out that it is Mental Health Week, and the topic does mean a lot to me and is a major part of my life, so I wanted to do a post on it.
First of all before I go into the more personal, emotions stuff, I’m going to say that I believe that there should be more education on mental illness, and how to handle any problems that you do have. There isn’t enough talk of the different issues people can face. I will be saying/ talking mostly about depression and anxiety, because I can speak from personal experiences. But there is a false impression of schizophrenia, BDD and many, many other mental health issues which people either don’t know or understand. I believe there should be education, and people should see the actual cases: not what the media portrays and glamorizes.
Mental illness is horrible: in many, many cases, you don’t see that the person is suffering. You don’t see the problems that they have. They can look perfectly fine on the outside, but be having hell of a hard time inside. Mental illness is as important as physical illness to me, but it’s also a taboo subject. It really, really shouldn’t be.
Mental illness can affect anyone: it can affect your friends, family members, teachers, leaders, celebrities… it doesn’t stick to a certain type of person. Wealth doesn’t fight off mental illness. Being skinny doesn’t fend off mental illness. Popularity cannot fight your battle, because the thing after you and causing you pain isn’t a person: it’s your brain.
I have social anxiety. It’s incredibly difficult: people can leave me out and I’ll be thinking about it for weeks. People can ignore me and I’ll think they suddenly hate me. Somebody can look at me a certain way and I’ll think I have done something terrible, or said something horrible. Somebody can speak to me a certain way and I’ll feel as if I’ve hurt them. It makes social interaction difficult and can terrify me. I struggle talking to new people, and when out with a group of people, I will stick to the one person I know like glue.
You wouldn’t expect it if you got to know me: I’m pretty friendly most of the time, I laugh a lot, and I’m usually trying to make others happy or cheer them up or making jokes. But you don’t see what goes on inside my own head, you see what I portray, and keeping the facade is incredibly tiring. I thank my friends every single day for sticking with me, even when it is acting up and I get overwhelmed and am quiet, because I know it can’t be easy for them either; sometimes I’ll start to panic or need reassurance. I’m in a bad patch of it at the moment, and it drains me.
I’ve also struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts in the past. I’m through the worst parts now, but if you saw me, with the friends I have around me, you’d never have known, because I do try and stay happy and positive if I can. And I have very few close friends now who knew me at those worst times and have still stuck with me (shout out to those people who talked me out and calmed me at 2AM, you’re all saints).
Mental health and mental illnesses should be spoken about more. Signs of them should be taught in schools, because if people could spot the signs, it could save a life. I’ve lost people to suicide, and I’m only 18. The rates of suicide are going up.
I’m going to share this fact with you: most causes of male deaths of ages 20-50 are from suicide. Girls are found to be more depressed, but due to there being no stigma behind girls talking about it and their feelings, they often get help faster. Mental illness doesn’t just affect girls: it can affect boys too, and that’s something which always goes overlooked. If you (female OR male) are suffering, talk to somebody to get help. There is no shame in asking for help, or telling people you are not okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not as strong. It makes you stronger, because it takes hell of a lot to admit it.
To all my Angels fighting mental illnesses, know I’m proud of you. You’ve made it through so, so many days, you can make it through more. You’ve made it, and I’m proud of you, I love you, and you’re worthy.
I recently got this tattoo. The first part is a heartbeat when you’re having an anxiety attack: when you’re scared and panicking. When you feel weak. Then there’s the heart: that is for every family member and friend who helped build me back up to the person I am today: it’s sadly a handful of people who helped me through, stuck by me, and never judged me. The semi colon to show that it’s not the end, I don’t want the sentence to me over. Then a happy, healthier heartbeat. The stage where I’m nearly at.
You can recover from mental illness. It’s a hell of a journey and hell of a fight, but you can get better. But the stigma behind mental illness and the fact that it is taboo needs to be removed. Be aware, and if a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance is suffering, try and get them help. If you are suffering, you are not alone. You’re not weak. It’s not your fault. You’re worthy. You’re loved.
Stay safe and stay happy Angels ❤
(I know I’ve said it so many times, but I love you.)