As you probably guessed from the title, this is not a Monday Marketing post. I have shifted my topic to Mental Health today, because it’s something I need to talk about.
Despite the fact we are in 2018, Mental Illness is still often stigmatised and whispered about. Thankfully, we as a society getting better at discussing the issues, but we must keep that going.
My own struggles
So, why am I talking about it again?
Simple, because it’s important.
Because it does not just affect the person who suffers from it, because 1 in 4 people in the world suffer from mental illness. Making it one of the leading causes of illness and disability.
Close to the bone
Someone very close to me suffers from depression. It was finally diagnosed several years ago after it hit an almost critical point.
Following an extremely difficult time, this person began to manage better and has been able to control and handle their condition well.
Unfortunately, that changed a few months ago and has been gradually getting worse. The saving grace is that from the earlier times, this person is now able to reach out. They know that it doesn’t need to be hidden away, festering until they hit rock bottom.
Not everyone does this. Many people who suffer from mental illnesses withdraw, becoming alone and isolated. Shutting themselves off from others. Often without even realising the cause.
A difficult climb
Acknowledging the issue is always the first step. Understanding that there is a problem needs to come first. People can point things out, but until you address that issue personally, you can’t start to deal with it.
Next is understanding that you need help. Whether that’s medical, professional or just personal support. There is no shame in needing help or in acknowledging a problem.
We need to talk about mental illness. We need to reach out. Whether that’s to friends and family (if they would be supportive) to forums online, to medical professionals… someone needs to know.
Take time to learn about your condition. Often there are things that can exacerabate it. Be aware of triggers and look into the different methods that can help you take steps to manage it.
How to help
This is mostly for those of us who know and love someone who is suffering.
Let people know you care and are there to listen if they want to talk. Make sure to follow through with this action.
Never judge them. Everyone experiences mental illness differently. There are different levels. If it’s affecting them, then it’s important. Don’t trivialise it.
Don’t state unhelpful things such as “it could be worse” or “cheer up” or “there’s nothing to worry about.”
Encourage them to help themselves by the use of small tasks such as taking a walk.
Gently encourage healthy eating, maybe bring around a meal you can share. Appetite is an area that is often neglected when people begin to suffer.
People especially with depression or anxiety will often isolate themselves. Keep in touch with texts and calls or drop by for a coffee (if you feel they would be okay with this).
Offer help if they want to seek medical assistance or therapy. Even if it means driving them and sitting in the waiting room.
Be patient. Understand that the road to recovery is slow and there may be some bumps along the way.
Learn what you can about the condition from reliable sources.
Keep your emotions in check. Don’t get angry or frustrated at them for how they are dealing with it. That won’t help and certainly won’t speed anything up.
Remember to take care of yourself as well. Often people who care and support others, can sometimes neglect their own health and can burn-out.
Keep the discussion going
Since I started blogging I have met some incredible people, many of whom have shared with me their own mental health issues.
These people have been through different levels, are at different points on their journey. It has been humbling hearing about their experiences.
For those of you reading this who may suffer from a mental illness… You’re not alone. These illnesses affect so many. Reach out and get support. I talked about joining the Writing Community and the benefits that had.
This is the same. Talking about our conditions. Connecting with people who understand. When we join together, when we support each other, we become stronger.
Mind – For better mental health (UK)
NAMI – National Alliance for Mental Illness (USA)
If anyone has any other resource websites for other countries, please let me know and I will add them here.
If you wish to share your thoughts on this subject, to share an experience, please feel free to do so in the comments. There will be no judgment, only support.
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The best thing I ever did for my Anxiety, was to become more open with it. Not everyone gets it, but so many more do than I ever expected. Some because they suffer from it too, others because they empathise and understand.
Thanks for reading this and for your understanding. I apologise this took the place of Monday Marketing but I needed to write this today.