I have been asked many times why I do this. Why do I write about mental health? I sat down and thought about it this week, and here is my answer.
- Because its what I know.
Everyone is familiar to a certain extent with feeling down or anxious. I have experienced these feelings to the extreme as well as in smaller doses. I know the struggle of trying to get on with your daily life while having a mental illness. I know how it is to feel ashamed of your mental illness. I know that some people still judge you for it, no matter what you do. But I also know how it is to come out the other side, and heal from a mental illness. To have your biggest supporters become known to you. I know how to get help and I know that it is important to talk about it.
2. Because it helps others to talk about it.
Have you ever thought you were the only one in the world to feel anxious, alone, down or out of control? I have. But then I began to realize that everyone has gone through something like this, or will go through it in their lifetime. And if it is so prevalent in our culture today, then what is the harm in talking about it? I’ve received messages from countless people telling me they’ve experienced the same feelings as I’ve expressed in my blog posts, and that seeing me talk about it has helped them come to terms with their own illness or their own mental health issues. This is what I aim for, so I am so happy to hear that by talking about it, I am helping them become aware of the fact that they are not alone.
3. Because it helps me to talk about it.
Writing has become like therapy for me. Pouring out my thoughts about mental health on an open forum has helped me to come to terms with my own feelings and I have become more accepting of myself.
4. Because it has made my mental illness into a positive learning point.
I am happy to say that my mental health has massively improved since I began writing. I have had ups and downs but overall I feel a lot better about myself having started speaking out about mental health. I have learned that it is important to take care of yourself, set boundaries and practice positivity. I have learned that the above is not easy but you need to work hard on your mental health if you want to be healthy – just like any other type of health.
5. Because it needs to be talked about.
Mental illnesses have become much more prevalent in society today as a result of pressures from work, family life, money and social media, as well as other medical and non-medical reasons. The rate of suicide is extremely high not only in Ireland, and the problem of stigmatization still exists, despite great efforts by mental health organisations and health organisations. The advice from these organisations is to seek help from friends, family or health professionals. To talk about the issue. I am so pleased to see many more of my own friends and family openly asking ‘are you ok?’ to others. This is a huge step forward. And it is important to ask people if you feel that there is something wrong. It might just be the opportunity they need to speak out about their own inner demons.
So that, in short, is why I write about mental health. There are many more reasons to talk about mental health. So please don’t be afraid to speak out. In my own experience, people understand.