Mental Health Awareness Week

Dear Dazai,

Twitter has informed me that it’s Mental Health Awareness Week and that I should be concerned by this fact and I’m a bit on the fence about this. I understand the need for more publicity regarding mental health, but I feel as if a lot of this is lip service.

There’s also a lot of assumptions made.

Assumptions that there is a burden on the person suffering to be the person that reaches out, asks for help. From my experience, at my worst, I had a whole heap of trouble reaching out to people. It took me almost to breaking before I sought any sort of advice or help, or even admitted there was a problem.

I was incapable of reaching out and to make matters worse, I didn’t want the help either. The idea of admitting that something was wrong was so terrifying, that I might have to confront the demons that had been tormenting me, rather than locking them away in the back of my mind and putting a smile on my face.

Something that nobody mentions often, or maybe it’s just me, is that we cling to these smiles, this facade that we put on to the world is important to us. It’s a lot of our sense of self, that no matter what might happen behind the scenes, that in public I could be a functional, worthwhile member of society.

I needed to have moments where I felt like that.

I needed moments where I could be the person that people turned to, because I needed to be a person that was needed by others. It’s something I still need. I like being on my own, but there’s a voice in the back of my head, the one I try so desperately to ignore, that tells me that I would so easily be forgotten, lost to the wastes, if I couldn’t contribute in a positive manner to others’ lives.

I needed to believe I was more than my worst moments.

That’s the dichotomy I’m sure everyone with an illness has, whether mental or otherwise, that we desperately need someone to help, but we don’t want to be defined by our weakness. That we are more than that. That we are worthy of being applauded and cherished for the other things we do.

Still, being Mental Health Awareness Week, I think that reaching out to people, checking in, is invaluable. They might not be able to tell you at this moment, but the act itself is so precious. We appreciate the thought more than perhaps anyone might ever know.

So be kind and considerate to those around you, it’ll mean the world.

xx

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