World Mental Health Day.
It absolutely blows me away the amount of articles, posts, status’ and pictures I see shared with the hashtag #worldmentalhealthday on this day and there seems to be more and more each year.
Talking about our mental health is so important, and it is incredibly humbling to see the stigma of it slowly starting to crumble.
Mental health/illness affects every single one of us, at some point in our life, I genuinely believe that. Maybe your mental health is something that you are aware of every day, maybe a sudden change in your life has been a catalyst for feeling a certain way, whatever the reason. whether it’s feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness, anger, hopelessness, (all of which, may I add, are completely human emotions) or anything else, we never need to apologise or feel ashamed for feeling the way we do.
My mental health is something that is a big part of my life and if I really think about it it has been for as long as I can remember. There have been periods in my life when I haven’t been able to function in the world in the ways that other people seem to easily be able to do. Times when I have wanted to just disappear. Times when my mind has been so cruel to me I have felt like I couldn’t cope with it any longer.
And for the most part I have dealt with those times alone, ashamed to share that part of myself with the world, afraid to be anything less than the mask of happiness everyone around me has come to know.
That’s not to say that part of me doesn’t exist, the happy me, she does. I find joy in the most unusual places, I love music and nature and art and words, I love seeing other people’s happiness and kindness and love. I like to be nice to people. I love hearing other people laugh. And I laugh, a lot. And I love, a lot.
But playing that part of me, all of the time, for everyone to see, for all those years was exhausting. And it’s false, it’s fake. It is who I am but not who I am all of the time.
I hurt, a lot. But I’ve come to realise that that isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It’s not something I can control but it is something that I’ve learnt to accept. And although there are still days it feels too difficult for me to cope with, I’m not ashamed anymore, because I’m still existing, despite it being hard. I’m not ashamed that sometimes it feels like my mind hates me, because I can still spread love regardless.
I have learnt to share those feelings with the people closest to me and I know that they won’t beat me because I’m not trying to beat it by myself. And you shouldn’t either.
The parts of us we try to hide may well be the parts of us we should be most proud of, would you have the strength you have if you’d not been fighting your own mind for so long? Would you care about people so much if you didn’t feel everything so deeply? The parts of you you’ve been ashamed of could be the reason you change the world.
Open yourself up, share what’s going on, ask for help when you need it, you never know who you might be helping by doing so.
Keep on talking about it. Keep on smashing the stigma.