*trigger warning* discussions of suicide/suicidal thoughts*
It is a common misconception that mental health issues aren’t illnesses and that individuals have complete control over them. However OCD, Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, Anorexia… are all illnesses and there are more. The people who have and are suffering are fighting just as a cancer patient is to seek relief from their pain.
I knew this misconception existed, however this passing week I have found that people a little closer to home for me have this outlook. People who I can explain the truth to, people who I can easily access, people with minds I hope to change.
The views of the people I know have been revealed as I have let go of my mask and spoken of truths in brutal honesty without fear or apprehension. And it has been beyond rewarding to display myself with no internal doubt as I know I am and always will be adequate. I am enough.
However, as I explained with my honesty and self-confidence other truths have been revealed. As I have expressed my feelings and lack of forgiveness and discussed my pain of the most recent past I have been regarded as bragging. Sounds similar to attention seeking. The problem with mental health awareness is that with the many that understand there is a similar proportion of people who do not and the vulnerability mental illness can leave individuals with, means its hard for those who care and understand to matter. As peers of mine have perceived my brutal honesty as an attempt to brag? As I would discuss my inability to walk up the stairs with a broken leg I shall similarly express my incapacity to forgive surrounding repercussions of recent mental health deterioration. Reasonable?!
Others, people who I love have hesitated and felt a desire to safeguard me from the impacts of long-term mental health issues. As I am building up a network of people in similar situations to my own and people who can help one another I have been met with nervousness that I shall similarly become suicidal, like some I engage into conversations with. Mental health issues are not contagious and nor are suicidal thoughts. Suicide is seen as an only option by those who sadly end up succumbing to it and for those who bravely find the light in such times, it is never a happy thought with no pain. And supporting, speaking and engaging with those who are suicidal is not a danger to yourself, to not is simply an injustice to them. They are no less worthy of help, conversation or love – though they may believe they are.
‘Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.’
Please do not let yourself be someone who cannot see the value of mental health as well as physical health as when both deteriorate the same pain is felt and the same outcome is inevitable. And though we cannot save every cancer sufferer yet, we can save every mental health sufferer. So why aren’t we? Start asking how people are coping and start saving lives and breaking the stigma!
Mental Health will one day be understood and I hope to be a contributor to that as I continue to educate my family and friends of the truth. Though I will never reach some of them or impact them, I will never stop trying.
Today Tomorrow Forever