World Mental Health Day

You know what? I almost forgot it was World Mental Health Day today, so to all my fellow sufferers, yay for us and when people all ask questions and are sympathetic for one whole day. Cynicism aside, if you don’t suffer from a mental illness but are looking at different things to read up on and use what you learn, good on you.

Remembering it was WMHD instantly reminded me that a long time ago – ten years ago to be exact – I had written something for the occasion. Now, I can’t really remember what spurred me to write this stream-of-conscious piece, I think I was having a mental health ‘moment’ around this time and there were people in my life exacerbating it who also didn’t take it seriously.

Anyway I thought I’d post it below for you. To me it’s cringey (I always think that about everything I write) but it’s interesting to see for myself as well as the outside world, what has changed and what hasn’t. Oh, little, tired, young Lucy…

Why You Probably Won’t Read This: 10.10.10 World Mental Health Day

If you are actually reading this right now, you’re probably only going to scan through the next few words I have to say, which means what I type right now has to be short and sweet.
So, where do you start on such a huge subject like mental health? How do you explain what it means scientifically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally? How do you explain what it does to people; the silence, the misunderstandings, the misconceptions and overall stigma associated with mental health and the disorders so many people in the world are living with on a day-to-day basis?
If you’re still reading this, then you might know someone that is living with a mental illness or disorder (I say ‘might’ because there is quite a high chance you know someone who is suffering in silence). Everyone has heard of the words “mental illness” and “mental disorder”, yet there are still so many people who aren’t aware of the symptoms, behavioural keys and the painful stigma that is still clouding our workplace and our relationships.
Days like this remind us that our brain is so unique, fascinating and at times so very scary when we have no control over it.
It doesn’t help that criminals plead insanity like it’s going out of fashion, that even though some mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are common, many think that they are a ‘quick fix’ and ‘it’ll pass’. It’s no where near that simple. For many people, it’s part of their genetic make-up; part of their habits, their thoughts, how they react. It is weaved into their genetic make-up. Some treatment is affective within a few months, some take longer, and some treatment just doesn’t fit with the individual. Humans are amazing in that we try to understand each other and make the people around us feel better. What a beautiful gift that is, what a waste if we couldn’t utilise it. So why won’t some people read this? Admitting to having a mental illness or disorder sounds scary but it really shouldn’t be. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. Depression doesn’t mean ‘emo’, anxiety doesn’t mean ‘a jittery mess with legs’. This is the problem. We all know these words, yet we don’t want to really know the meaning behind them, we don’t want to talk about it, ‘it’s not my business, so why should I care’? The fact is there are so many people in the world that actually live with a mental illness or disorder that it is everyone’s business.
Days like today should make us all have a look within ourselves and the people we love, as well as the people we know and are going to meet in the future. This is the perfect time, right this very moment, to pick a mental illness or disorder -go ahead, pick one- and read about it. You’re opening your own mind to awareness and understanding, and you could actually help someone with that bit of knowledge, whether you realise it or not.
So if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what a white, 20-something year old girl from Australia would know about mental illness… actually I know a lot more than you think.
Enjoy today, be okay and ask people if they are too.

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