Mental health

An open letter about mental health

July 30, 2018

Mental Health. It seems to be everywhere nowadays… and rightly so. Whether you suffer yourself or not, it is a real condition that is happening worldwide. To your friends. To your family. And no, I’m not just saying this for the ‘fun of it.’ Open your eyes. It effects 1 in 4 people in the UK alone. So why is it, so many are still scared about to talk about how we feel?

There is a big trend that goes around every time someone high profile commits suicide. Suddenly, everyone has compassion over the illness that effects so many. “If only [they] would have got help sooner.” “I’m sure things would have been different if something had been said.” But most of the time, all the signs are there. I often wonder what people want us to say… “Hi, erm, I can’t do this anymore.” It doesn’t work like that.

Not for a second am I implying that you should know that people around you are struggling. A lot of people who suffer from mental illnesses are good at hiding that anything is wrong at all. They have become so accustomed to creating a fake identity to cover up their pain that it’s almost impossible for anyone to guess that they may be struggling. But look out for the cries for help. If you know your friend or family member is struggling- be there! Just like you’d be there if they split up with their partner, or if they were crying over a boy. We sometimes forget that one of the most important things to exist in the world today is simply listening. To take two seconds out of your time to show some compassion.

Don’t be under the impression that mental health holds stereotypes either. It can happen to males, and females. Regardless of age, gender, sexuality, wealth, upbringing, race. Anyone. Each illness effects people differently- from how they think, to how they feel, to how they begin to conquer. Anxiety isn’t just about ‘feeling nervous now and then,’ and depression isn’t about ‘occasionally feeling sad.’ Oh god… if only it was that easy. It quite literally destroys your life. It quite literally drains everything out of you- and it is, quite literally, scary. I can’t emphasise enough how legitimate and real these points are. We don’t sit here and make up feelings, nor do we struggle to even get out of bed for the fun of it.

I can’t tell you how terrifying it is waking up and feeling like you have limited reasons to even get up. I can’t tell you how scary it is to feel like you have absolutely no one. I can’t tell you how scary it is constantly crying out for help and having no one there to guide and support you. Many are barely in the right state of mind to go to work, never mind to try and sort their head out without any support. Sometimes the best guidance you can get is from those around you- and those you cherish the most. Of course, you ultimately are the only person that can be the driving force of your recovery, but a strong support system is sometimes what your friend or family member may need to feel like they do have a purpose.

At the same time as never wishing mental illnesses on anyone, I do wish more people begun to understand the impact it has on those around us and how real it is. Too many lives are cut short nowadays due to the lack of support, constant stigma and lack of education. I hope that mental health services improve in my lifetime. I hope that people are able to get the help they so rightly deserve before it’s too late. I hope more is done to educate others on the topic. I hope for change. A society of listeners. And a society of compassion. I pray that things get better. You always have a reason to live. Whether that’s in a stranger, hope, or anything in between. Keep fighting.

Love always,

xo, Becca

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