So, this is my 100th post! How exciting!
I’m pretty well at the moment. A lot is going on in my life, and as always there are a lot of worries, but I’m handling things well I think.
It’s funny to try to write here when things are going well. It almost feels like I’m a fraud, but such is the nature of mental illness – it’s not all dark days, and the good days should be cherished.
One purpose of this blog is to show people that lack understanding about mental health issues that it’s not every day that is terrible – that because someone is diagnosed with a mental illness doesn’t mean they spend all their days in bed, that they are not self centred, that they should not be demonised for their diagnosis.
Unfortunately, not all people can come to terms with this (as I have recently found out), and people seem happy to try to use certain elements of my diagnosis against me. These kinds of people are the very reason that it is important to speak out and raise awareness about mental health issues.
Everyone deals with things in different ways. Two people may well experience a very similar set of circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they will both cope with things in the same manner. Don’t judge someone because ‘you wouldn’t do that’.
Don’t ever tell someone to ‘get on with it’. They may well be ‘getting on with it’, but in their own way. What makes you the expert on someone elses issues?
When offering advice, be empathetic. Don’t try and solve their problems, just offering a listening ear can be all the help someone needs.
So what about when things are going well?
Don’t try and ruin it for them! Support people. Sometimes, for someone suffering from a mental health issue, just getting out of bed can be a huge achievement. But you don’t have the option to stay in bed? You have to ‘get on with things’? Good for you. Depression and anxiety can be utterly crippling, and such flippant remarks can be severely detrimental to someone’s mental health.
As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, I often feel guilty when I feel good. But that’s part of the illness. It’s more than OK to have good days – to feel positive and productive! This is something I’m learning to come to terms with. Just because I have this label, doesn’t mean it defines me. Perhaps some people need to realise that too. My illness doesn’t define me any more than the colour of my hair, my love of dinosaurs or my preference for hand writing letters. None of these things are ‘Me’. I am the sum of many parts.
It’s your problem if you choose to focus on a small part of the whole.