Monday 16 January 2012

Keep talking about mental health; it's time to talk


This post fulfils my pledge at Time to Change to talk about my own experience of Mental Health and how talking helps.  This is my own story, it's my experience; I hope that it might help you either talk about your similar experiences or talk to someone else about there's.  It is time to start talking about mental health!!

Through my life I have suffered with suicidal feelings, post-natal depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, frustrated grief and good old fashioned depression.  They come and go, have come together and separately; they are controlled at the moment, life is good and I thank God for that blessing each morning.  I am currently stable because I take anti-depressants every day, I need chemical help for my mental health and I am far from ashamed to say so.

There are many things which made my depression, anxiety and grief worse, but by far the biggest factor was feeling isolated.  When people avoided talking to me, or crossed the street when they saw me or just avoided the subject at all it made me feel like such a failure.  Not talking about it just confimed my suspicions that I should be able to deal with my mental health and that there was so much wrong with me which was all my fault.

I can not tell you how important it has been to find people who are not afraid to talk.  Not afraid to hear me say "not really" when they ask me how I am.  Not afraid to see my cry.  Not surprised when I laugh.  Not judge or blame or look for solutions but just talk to me as me.

I am very open about being on anti-depressants.  I am very open about the fact that I have been suicidal.  Neither of these is my fault, it's not something evil which I need to hide; I've had dark times and I'm just thankful I made it through.  I hope that by sharing it (when appropriate) it might help someone else seek help or help someone talk to others they know who are depressed.

There is no stigma around having diabetes or cancer or the flu, so why should there be around depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or any other mental health issue?  Let's talk about it, let's talk the stigma away.


I have previously written my whole account of my depression at How Does Depression Look to You it is one of a series of articles which are now being published as a book.

If you would like to make a difference in your actions then please make your pledge at Time to Change and let me know, I'd love to see your pledges.


Michelloui said...

I really agree with this--we need to take the stigma away from Mental Health. More and more people are speaking up about it, which is the momentum that has signalled the change in many movements. Let's hope this continues. Great post, very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

It is so important to know there are people prepared to talk - and to listen, as you say, without judgment.

I recently curated an online exhibition of work by writers and artists talking about their lowest moments, in the hope others would read and feel less alone

On The Way said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog while figuring out who I'll be coming to see at Greenbelt this year.
Thank you for your pledge to keep talking about mental health.
Have enjoyed reading through some of your past posts and regardless of what you might be talking about at GB2012 I will attempt to be there...
Being open about my own mental health problems has caused me no end of problems over the years, most recently in the last couple of weeks being accused of not being a capable/caring youth worker just because I battle with depression.
Knowing that there's others like you out there talking about it, hopefully we're getting somewhere to beating stigma/discrimination, slowly but surely!
Take care,

LLM Calling said...

Laura, thanks for researching, reading and saying hi; please come and introduce yourself after my talk, I'd love to chat.

Unknown said...

Right on - fight the stigma!

I have schizophrenia, and that's why I started blogging - to come out of the closet about it. I've since written two books about coping with the disorder. I guess you could say I'm way way out of the closet now!

I'm going to sport this badge on my site and link to your brave post.