Sometimes we need to talk and that’s ok. And sometimes we don’t, and that's ok too.
I have anxiety, depression and pure OCD. On my bad days, they have me. TMI?!
As a Time to Change Champion and a media volunteer for the charity Rethink Mental Illness, I have become accustomed to having conversations about mental health and mental illness. That is also why I set up this blog after all and why you are reading it, isn't it?! To share experience of living with mental illness, working on wellbeing and the everything in between.
But why is important to talk about our mental health or mental health problems/illness?
At the time I became open about my MH difficulties and how I manage them, I was not aware that people in my life were talking about this kind of stuff at all. Perhaps people were and I wasn't aware. Some of the comments I received when I tried to talk about my experience or diagnosis were not helpful and many people either didn't seem interested, were embarassed or just plain afraid to talk about it in case that made it worse (for me or them, I guess).
Now, those friends that have stuck around have gradually become more comfortable having ‘those kind of conversations' and the idea that this could be a healthy approach to looking after ourselves and each other. Many of them tell me that they benefit from the relief of being open about how they are feeling sometimes too.
As one of the 1 in 4 with a diagnosable mental illness, I have good and bad days like you do. But now I know that my bad ones are not compounded by having to put my face on and hide my illness from even loved ones out of shame that I am the only one suffering. My good days are better and more frequent as I find I am finally able to be my authentic self and not feel guilty for expressing myself.
Thanks to talking about mental health and not avoiding it, I now know that other people struggle too sometimes, diagnosable or not, and that sometimes just talking helps.
Sometimes we need to talk and that’s ok. And sometimes we don’t. I am learning to pick my moments, and my battles. Not everyone has to agree with me, or like me after all.
I don’t expect to be asked everyday how I am, nor do I put pressure on anyone else to reveal their inner most feelings every time we interact. That would be pretty intoleratble, not to mention exhausting, wouldn't it?!
But the invitation is there. It’s ok to share how you are feeling, how you are really doing with me.
I am passionate about changing the conversation about mental health, get in touch if you want to share your story.