In the Spirit of Mental Health Awareness Day, I thought I would share some of my own personal experiences with mental health. I have been diagnosed with Depression for a while now, and it affects me almost daily, however it is completely unpredictable. I could be in a room full of people I like doing an activity I love, and a wave will come over me. The urge to curl up in a ball in bed and cry and not speak to anyone completely overwhelms me.
I find it really difficult to talk about how I'm feeling to anyone. I can tell people "I suffer from mental health" but I really struggle to go into the nitty gritty of what that means. Telling others what my brain is telling me, trying to help people understand, is almost impossible. I want to burst into tears when I talk about it, and so I don't talk about it too often. It's not because I don't want people around me to know, I just find it really difficult.
Having depression doesn't affect my ability to get the job done, however people just need to be more mindful when they say comments such as "Lighten up" or "Give us a smile", because they have no idea what's going on behind the scenes.
I have included a poem I wrote about what depression feels like for me. It explains why plans can get cancelled last minute, because it is so hard when your in the grips of depression to escape and carry on as normal. It is okay to cancel, it is okay to feel and not to feel and it is okay to want to speak about it but also it is okay not wanting to speak about it. However you personally handle mental health is okay.
I talk about my physical health a lot, and how that affects me, however I find it a lot harder to talk about mental health, partly because I'm worried about what people might say, and partly because it is so painful to talk about. Despite all the campaigns trying to reduce stigma on mental health, I see comments on these posts such as "attention seeking", and that proves to me that we need to keep continuing the work, speaking out and helping people understand that experiencing issues with mental health isn't a choice, and people who experience it would rather not have mental health and not be labelled an attention seeker.
I feel a lot of pressure to be happy, to be productive, to be supportive, when often I can't find motivation no matter how long I search. Just try and remember next time you notice someone looks or acts different, to cancels plans, or even when you expect everyone to be happy all the time, that you don't know what is going on behind the scene.
The Plan Canceller
Move. Get up. You must get ready.
Tears continue to stream.
Time is ticking. It’ll be a rush.
Each inhale feels like breathing burning ice.
Why aren’t you moving.
All your limbs feel so heavy.
If you leave now, you won’t be that late.
Trying to find motivation is agonizing.
People will be annoyed if you show up any later.
Constant, tormenting self-hatred.
Time moves too fast. Might as well cancel. Again.
It's too painful.
Until Next Time,