On World Mental Health Day I started thinking about how lucky I am to live in a time when mental health is considered to be as important as physical health. Rather than it being treated as a taboo subject or a “it’s-all-in-your-head-get-over-it” problem that mental health sufferers have faced in the past. Thank you for evolving humans, took you long enough.
Actually I’ve even noticed the difference in the past five years in how young people especially have grown to understand others with different mental states to their own, with absolutely no judgement involved. I believe as a generation we are really making headway to break through the solitude that mental health confines us too, and instead we try to find unity in this tendency to isolate ourselves.
It has become reassuring that people reveal their true mental struggles, as opposed to those very struggles being a sign of weakness. In fact instead being open about mental health with yourself, if not anyone else, has become a sign of humanity, a sign of our common experience of the world.
And as it is World Mental Health Day, and the day after I had a weepy-breathy breakdown in A&E, I decided I should write about my mental health.
Yesterday I accidentally put a blunt knife through a pack of chicken and straight into my hand. If you didn’t already know stress is lethal, and my bandaged achey hand is proof of that. Shout out to B for accompanying me to A&E and being a great friend.
But yes, yesterday I cracked. I had my lets-reevaluate-what-I’m-doing-as-I-should-not-be-this-stressed moment, that we all do have and it arrived with lots of ugly snotty tears. I’d been feeling down for a couple of days, but after my accidental stabbing I just crumbled. Sounds about right doesn’t it?
Three hours later we were seen by a lovely nurse, I was steri-stripped and sent on my merry way, with only an hour before a rehearsal for my play I wrote, directed and acted in. Yes nobody panic! But funnily enough I didn’t.
We left, got a medicinal McDonalds and then I grabbed my stuff, put my make up on – which let me tell you with one hand and a bandage claw is difficult. It’s like playing Twister with only your hands, but the prize is a different face to the ghost that I look like, so I’ve got to play the game well.
So, I wiped away my tears with many a Morrison’s cookie, and then just carried on with my day, like nothing had happened. And for me, that was crazy progress.
I felt how far I’d come from the girl who wouldn’t even get out of bed, let alone continue with anything I had planned if my brain clouds appeared to cause havoc to my dream of being a sassy superwoman. PS I’d like to say that brain clouds is the term I’ve coined for depression, you heard it here first kids.
It also reminded me that everyone is on their own mental journey; that our mind changes and grows as things happen, as our bodies do too. And every small step to overcoming mental barriers is progress and should definitely not be ignored.
Likewise don’t be ashamed of whatever is happening in your mind, good or bad, if you had a broken leg you’d tell everyone right?
When I stabbed myself through a box of chicken, I immediately messaged my friends like “Yeah so don’t panic but I just accidentally stabbed myself, help please”. Whilst when I feel down, I’m think if I don’t tell anyone, then no one will know or notice.
That obviously doesn’t work. It’s best to tell people how you feel even if it’s just yourself in a video or a diary entry that you never show anyone. You can figure out how to cope with with how you feel once you realise how you actually feel.
No one has to face mental health alone , and I think that is huge blessing on society that not only can we have a cry in front of one and other, and message and say “Hey my anxiety is bad, but I’ll be there in 10” or “I’m going to have to go home my anxiety is so bad today.” The fact that is normal now (whatever normal is) is brilliant.
I’m very grateful for World Mental Health Day, but remember your mental health is important everyday.