I am a person of few words so it feels odd to want to start a blog. However, I feel there is something that needs to be talked about by more people in order for it to be socially acceptable:
I have been suffering from depression intermittently since I was a teenager. Nearly half the UK population have had a mental illness at some point in their lifetime, I feel this is a secret society that no one acknowledges.
Firstly I want to define it. Rather than go to the bog standard definition. Here’s mine;
“being stuck in a dark room knowing that there’s light outside but you just can’t seem to get to the door. You can’t get comfortable, it’s hard to find distraction from your own thoughts, and you’re left clawing for the way out”…it is possible though.
I see it in other people. Sometimes when my mask slips, my friends closest to me see the desperate look in my eyes. In the past I haven’t had the courage to say anything to help anyone else. Now I feel the first step (like with everything) is to admit; that I (as well as society) has a problem.
To actually say these words to a person; “I have depression/anxiety/social phobia” makes my palms sweat, and my stutter come back. I am met with 3 options in sharing my illness:
1. Continue to put on the mask.
2. Down play it, hoping the person will read into your subtle signals.
3. Go balls out and say it loud and proud.
Today I’m going with option 3.
After all, it takes people to speak out to change perceptions in society. Mental illness, is a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can be set off by traumatic events, or just be left dormant waiting for a trigger. Mental illness is an illness. Therefore should be treated with the same respect as a physical illness. The attn.com link below depicts this perfectly:
There have been times in work (and to my friends) I have lied about getting help. As there is this stigma attached to mental health. I really… really regret this.
Why should there be shame associated to depression/anxiety? Or shame with getting help for this. This allows us to make better decisions in work, show trust and grow in our relationships.