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