So a lot’s been happening in my life recently. Things have been moving fast and I can’t say it’s all been plain sailing. One thing I have noticed is the level of support I’ve been receiving online (mainly on Twitter might I add). My mental health fluctuates frequently from me feeling like I’m stable to suddenly at a loss and in despair.
One constant is that I know I can talk to people without the fear of being judged or made fun of. For anyone that lives with a mental illness, you’ll know just how hard it can be to make it through the day, heck, making it out of bed can be a herculean feat sometimes. But knowing you have support is fantastic and it really helps me a great deal.
Be whoever you are. Mental illness doesn’t define you and it doesn’t have to limit your potential. Your worth isn’t restricted by your capabilities and your achievements don’t have to be monumental. If washing your hair, having a shower or replying to an email is something you’ve struggled through but accomplished, then you’ve got every right to punch the air and be happy! Those little steps, the ones that require the most effort, they’re what you need to focus on.
YOUR BRAIN WILL LIE TO YOU
It will tell you you’re not doing enough but you don’t have to listen to it! Sometimes, you need to put your trust in someone else and let them speak and think for you. Hear what they have to say about you because we often convert our thoughts into the most negative image of ourselves.
YOUR BRAIN IS A LIAR!
You need to know that you have a choice. You can choose to ignore it, it doesn’t have to inflict a reign of terror over you for life. Another thing that’s particularly bugged me today is the harmful, degrading and deep-rooted lack of understanding about what mental illness actually is and the damage that can be done when it is misused and misunderstood.
A prime example would be that of the new movie Split which centres around Dissociative Identity Disorder. Instead of using a major motion picture to highlight the illness in its true light, Hollywood yet again has driven mental illness down the ‘thriller and horror’ genre further adding to the stigma and stereotype that people with a mental illness are dangerous, aggressive and violent. In reality, people with mental illnesses are far more likely to be on the other side of the glass and are often the victims of crime and violence.
Another thing that troubles me is the association between mental illness and negativity. Why do people automatically assume that the words ‘mental illness’ and ‘negativity’ fit so well together when in reality, people with mental illnesses have been (in my experience) the most understanding, compassionate and kind souls that I have had the pleasure of meeting! A perfect example of this is the recent Facebook post by the actor Simon Helberg. He posted an article about Donald Trump with the caption ‘A mentally ill person is the President’. My immediate reaction was anger and shock! Okay, so Trump may genuinely have a mental illness, but why the f*** would you try and use mental illness in a negative way to express your concern and emotions about someone? To me, this gives the impression that mentally ill people are always associated with negative connotations and will never amount to anything, in fact, that people think they shouldn’t amount to anything!
So before you judge, jump to conclusions or use big words that you can’t comprehend but think are right because it involves mental illness, think about how your words will affect someone who suffers daily with a debilitating condition that could leave them feeling suicidal, in despair or without hope.
Think about how you could be compassionate, empathetic and kind instead and I can guarantee that you will feel better about yourself whilst making the world a better place in the process. And to all those who live with mental illnesses, please remember, RECOVERY EXISTS. HOPE IS REAL. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I’ll always keep fighting for you.