Saturday, October 10, 2020

Depression & Mental Health Awareness Day

Today is one of those 'hashtag days' that everyone loves to get involved in, and this time it's for mental health awareness.

As someone that has and is currently suffering from depression largely caused by current life status and just shitty genes I guess, I appreciate the efforts for most on days like this. I think it's great that people share inspirational quotes, helpline numbers and words of wisdom and for some it comes from experience, recovery and knowledge. Sometimes it really does help.

Some though, and these are the ones that will have me largely avoiding social media today, are not helping. One example is somebody I know that in real life treats me like absolute sh*t, who admittedly I should not have any kind of friendship with, but the anxiety of removing her from my life and the backlash is just not worth the stress - posts a number for the Samaritans with a weak and meaningless 'always here for you huns' or words to that effect. I mean please.

Now it's a nice try, and kudos for being all trendy with your hashtags and trying to look good, but wouldn't it be lovely if instead of once a year pretending you care, to actually be a nice person. If day to day these people thought about others, reserved judgement when they don't know what that person may be going through or just any other day of the year had an ounce of sympathy for people struggling with mental health.

Days like this are so important and the constant media campaigns making mental health topics an open honest discussion are literally life saving, so I'm not bashing the concept in the slightest. I do though have to somehow call these people, this behaviour out because as someone that generally cares for others, whether it's a colleague, friend, family or total stranger, having helpline numbers and quotes rammed down your throat from people that gossip, spread vicious memes and treat people with zero respect on the daily in the normal way, is frankly hard to swallow.

So I thought I'd give an idea of what things actually can help and the obvious starting point is to get involved with these campaigns, but only if you're going to be that same beacon of care throughout the year when it's not part of a special day. Be kind to people, always. Know that they could be suffering in the worst ways and maybe that is why they are quiet, they're late, they're cancelling plans, they don't want to talk. Don't judge, ever.

Understand that putting a brave face on things is exhausting and that eventually the cracks will come and in those times we need gentle support, not hammers to the soul. 

Think. Think about your words, your posts, your actions, your facial expressions. Think about how you are towards people, all people. Know that your small joke, eye roll or silence could be the final nail in the coffin.

Share help links, numbers, articles, quotes, but share them regularly, reach out at random, not just on special days. 

Reach out to people that change their behaviour, go quiet, seem manic even. 

Don't ignore people, even the worst behaviour can be rooted to trauma, ill health or just a daily struggle with life that you can't even imagine, and they probably can't even explain.

Right now for me, everything is just overwhelming. I spent the last year feeling pretty good, working towards goals and feeling like I was getting somewhere and shaping a life. Fast forward to now and it feels like it's all gone, I feel like I'm failing in every single aspect of my life and it's really not a nice place to be. I feel that my work life, hobbies, home life and everything are all too much to cope with, that the things I was doing so well with have all been torched and I'm left drowning in a see of 'to do's' with no energy, motivation or time to do anything about it. Each day it feels worse and I quite frankly don't want to live. But I will. I have to and I will be OK, I just need to draw this line, make some plans and get a little help to get me back up again. Everything I've been juggling has collapsed to the floor and it will just take a little time to pick them all back up again and get them going.

So, I don't need quotes, I don't need numbers, I don't need links. Though some people do so it is still important to share these. I need smiles to be returned, doors not to be slammed in my face and a little understanding that I may not always be chatty, on time or positive. I need someone to stand in silence with me when I'm just not feeling it, to just know I'm not being awkward, rude or striving to be a loner, I just can't always 'perform' and I don't always have the energy to put the right face on.

Sending love to anyone else struggling, write it down, get some help, avoid people that make it worse 💛