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Mental Health Awareness Week (USA)   

Hey all, 

As you may or may not be aware, it is Mental Health Awareness Week over in the USA from 6th October – 12th October. We had a week dedicated to this in May over here in the U.K., but I believe that, as honourable and good-willed the sentiment is, a week alone per year for awareness is not enough. 

There are serious, fundamental problems that many people are experiencing on a day to day basis mentally that remain unspoken about. There is still a stigma to be broken down and tackled and there is, now more than ever, a real need for openness and compassion between people. It’s high time that Mental Health was discussed in a candid way amongst everybody, friends, colleagues and family members. People shouldn’t feel the need to be bottling their emotions up to anybody anymore. 

With the internet, mobile phones and social media we have never been so connected to each other, but how do you explain the distance growing between people? There is a real alienation between us now. Our ability to communicate effectively is vastly diminishing and it’s easy to see why. 

We all have a vast and wide expanse of emotions, both positive and negative. We all feel things in different ways. What may not be a struggle for one person, could absolutely break another and vice versa. 

I firmly believe that 100% of people suffer with some variety or degree of mental health issue at some stage in their life. For some, unfortunately, it is an ongoing battle. For others it is more transitory, but the impact doesn’t fluctuate based on the illness or it’s permanence. 

It is said that mental illnesses are “Invisible”, which I would largely challenge. The results of these illnesses are not invisible. If you are observant enough, you can see the fallout of fragmented people. 

My primary problems are continuous, uncontrollable Anxieties. Occasionally there is a nice little flurry of depression thrown into the cocktail too when I haven’t got enough to struggle with. 

The evidence is there if people were attentive enough to notice; 

  • Torn skin on fingers 
  • Tired and bloodshot eyes 
  • Struggling to concentrate 
  • Becoming angry at the slightest inconvenience 
  • Taking everything that goes wrong in life so personally 
  • Being jumpy at the slightest noises 
  • Struggling to maintain eye contact or have extensive conversations with people 
  • Having little to no confidence in myself 
  • Self-loathing.   
  • Crowds 
  • People 
  • Travelling 
  • Driving 
  • Noise 
  • Becoming wildly obsessive about things 

This could continue for a lot, lot longer but I won’t bore you with the details. I don’t feel as though anxiety is “Invisible”, you just need to look hard enough to see that people are struggling with it. Depression, on the other hand, can be completely hidden. I have become astute at hiding it. Nobody knows what goes through my mind most of the time. I am glad they don’t, because they may think I am crazy. Sometimes I question my own sanity too. 

All of that is just a miniscule splinter of me that comprises a cracked puzzle of injurious sentiments. 

Talk candidly and openly. Share with people. Cry with people, laugh with people, smile with people and really connect with the people around you. If the world could do this, a lot of people wouldn’t be feeling the way they do. 

There is nothing to be gained by denying when you are ill. It will only cripple you later down the line. The real strength lies in your ability to be honest with others and honest with yourself, that is far bravery than hiding your feelings away behind a façade. 

Just look out for one another. Keep an eye out and extend your hand out wherever needed. The world, and the people in it, could be far, far stronger if we connected more. 

Don’t be so wrapped up in yourself that you fail to notice others putrefying around you. 

It’s not about “babysitting” or “mollycoddling” everybody. It’s about being mindful, compassionate and vigilant. 

The signs may be there that the people around you need help, you likely just haven’t noticed 

Talk.

Eqavox

I have linked this post to my track about mental health called "White Horse". Check it out if you haven't yet heard it. 

Book Preview.  

I started to realise that some of the people on my Facebook are not looking out for me and started to even suspect certain people were out to get me. I eventually realised that these people are likely a select few of my colleagues who I never really wanted to accept in the first place but did so to keep faith with them. It’s like trying to disarm a King Cobra or remove the venom from its fangs with your bare hands. 

After the discarding of Facebook fakery, I have been enjoying the peace. I have been relishing in my new-found freedoms and have been able to be more open about my illnesses gradually. It’s taken a while. I’ve tried my best to ensure that there are only those I trust on Facebook now. 

A few nights ago, I was having trouble sleeping. I was thinking about how drained I am at pretending to be somebody I am not. Hiding who I am from the world. I thought about all the people I have on Facebook now and realised these were all people I don’t fear. They don’t make me feel intimidated or like they have some hidden agenda, I felt more comfortable. 

So, I stayed awake and wrote a blog post on my website. A blog post that defines me, who I am, what I am, what I am struggling with, what’s going on in my life and how I am dealing with my issues. It was less detailed than this book is, but basically broadcast that I have been sick for a long time and I am starting to recuperate. It was a way of asking people to bear with me while I focus on recovery. 

I opened Pandoras Box and felt a transitory sense of anxiety. My family weren’t mindful of my issues. Nobody on Facebook was aware. Nobody I worked with was cognisant of my problems other than management. 

I’d veiled it tremendously well, but I’d been overloaded while masquerading behind this facade. I didn’t want to camouflage anymore. So, I shared the blog post online. I felt myself relax as the mass on my shoulders was hauled off me. And with that relief, I glided into insentience, contented. 

I assumed I would feel frightened, apprehensive and exposed after being so honest, but I drifted off, like drowsy vapours across a dusty evening sky. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

I awoke, again with the aforementioned apprehension, 

To a multitude of notifications that instigated chronic tension, 

Do I look like I am only looking for pity or attention? 

Should I scour through the comments like it’s some sort of intervention? 

I try to get back the strength I had, though my skull is full of questions. 

Here I go again, feeding my anxious obsessions, 

Perhaps, I never should have mentioned anything in my reflections, 

I’ve singlehandedly stripped away all my outer layers of protection, 

And laid my self on unsympathetic, dark pavements after losing my direction. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

This is what I thought I would feel when I woke up. Some semblance of regret at ever having done it and, in truth, I did initially. I woke up criticising myself and expecting a sea of negativity, people telling me to man up or people telling me to just get over it. This was a concern even despite the careful screening and culling I had done on Facebook recently. But it was a short-lived concern. I am happy to say there was nothing but support from everybody and I was astounded by the amount of people who had struggled with similar issues and never spoken out about them. They just buried them away like I continuously did for so long. 

I realised how easy it is to overlook Anxiety and Depression from outside of someone’s life. This made me realise that nobody is ever going to notice and help or support you unless you are honest with them. We get comfortable and content with being concealed. 

To do this, you first need to be honest with yourself. Accept your issues. Admit you are not well. Accept yourself as you are. Speaking out to people who can assist, doctors, counsellors etc was the place I chose to start.