Wednesday, 3 August 2016

THE FACE OF MENTAL iLLNESS.


The face of mental illness isn't someone that's always sad and cries alot, it isn't someone who is introverted. The face of mental illness could be you or me, it could be your parents, your loved ones, even your boss. 
Mental illness looks like that stranger who you always see smiling, a smile so big it probably could be blinding. It's the woman who gets up every single day to put food on the table for her children, it's the man who works late nights every single week just so he can provide for his family. 
Mental health issues can affect anybody. Male, female, young or old. You can be from a working class background or an upper class background but we ALL have mental health whether it's good or bad - everybody in this world has physical health its something you can't change because we're all humans so if we all have physical health then why doesn't our mental health get treated the same? 

If I went to the doctors and said I had a tummy ache they'd give me pills to make me better, right? I went to the doctors basically EVERY single week and it took months, close to being a year for me to see a counselor that after the first meeting put me on another waiting list. In my opinion, mental health isn't taken as seriously as it is because let's face it if you're talking to someone and they say the normal things like
 "how're you?" 
"oh I'm fine, I just sprained my wrist so I've got to take it easy"
"oh how'd you do that? hope you get better soon!"

And then the conversation continues about their physical wellbeing, but I can guarantee it's completely different for mental health.
There's an obvious stigma surrounding mental health because the word 'depressed' gets thrown about far too much, people will say they're depressed because starbucks got their name wrong or something superficial like that. Depression is something many many people have to live with on a daily basis, and you can't just change your thoughts or how you're feeling, for me I'm either super happy like over the moon happy or I'm at the lowest I probably could be.

More than 55,000 suicides occur in the EU each year, which then means there's one death by suicide every 2 hours. That's a ridiculously high statistic, an estimated 2-15% of people who have been diagnosed with major depression die by suicide. Crow and colleagues found that crude mortality rates were 4.0% for anorexia nervosa, 3.9% for bulimia nervosa, and 5.2% for an eating disorder not specified. They also found a high suicide rate in bulimia nervosa.  

The highest 'killer' in mental illness is eating disorders - depression and bipolar disorder have the next highest suicide rates, and the problem with this is that more and more people young and old will die but nothing will change. 

This IS the face of mental illness. 
I've been told many times that I need to get more resilient and I've been told by family members that didn't understand what I was going through to 'get a thicker skin' these are the things you can't and shouldn't ever say to another human being. People throw words around like they mean nothing nowadays and I feel that's why there's such a big stigma surrounding mental health and all thing's related to it. People like to keep these things quiet for fear of getting judged because of the stigma around it, I'm just talking about how I feel towards it so it's just my own opinion - I as a young person felt ashamed and embarrassed for feeling like this for so long until I'd just decided that everybody in this world has mental health and alot of people struggle with things related to it as well so how can I be ashamed when everybody has a mental health just like they have a physical health. 

I can obviously only speak how I feel and stuff but I'd love to just tell everybody whether you understand mental health or not please never ever belittle us just because YOU don't understand it. No matter what your views on mental health are, you shouldn't ever take your ignorance out on somebody else, you don't know the struggles other people go through on a daily. YES hurt people hurt people, but you gotta take responsibility.

And finally, I'd like to just tell you all about the other person that's going to be writing on this - His name's Mike and I'll leave all his social media down here afterwards!

"I recently saw a tweet from @LiVNiZZLE raising the topic of "the face of mental health". It is an interesting discussion as we see more 'celebrities' talking about their mental health, and that's great. However my personal belief is that by perceiving these people as 'celebrities' there is already a disconnection because of the vastly different life's we lead. Personally (again) I connect much more with someone I perceive as being more like me. 

But what does that mean? Even saying that feels slightly strange. Do I perceive the rich and famous to have lesser struggles to myself? Does the fact they have a different background or culture make a difference? No, I don't think so. True I think our challenges are very different and the resources we have definitely are. However that does not mean they can't feel as low as me or struggle as much through each day. We could have the same dark thoughts, those challenges to get out of bed, to exercise, to be positive, to not feel so down about yourself that you struggle with self identity or thoughts of self harm. 

We all have mental health, as we do physical health, and it affects us all differently. If you have a job, money, a wife / husband, brothers, sisters, two friends or two hundred friends. Our minds all work differently, and yet can all fall victim to the same, or similar, demons.
I remember a line from 'The Black Dog' "depression is a equal opportunities mongrel" and heck that's just one these illnesses. Mental health does not care about who you are, where you come from or how old you are.  

I bring this up because as I said I personally connect more with someone I perceive as being like me or who has a similar story (I think). It is this judgement that we make about what someone can and can't feel, think or understand. It is that that can start to feed into the idea mental health can only affect certain people, or sometimes in my case, that only certain people can understand it.

I believe it comes down to this. Mental health affects us all. One in four will be affected by a mental health issue within their lifetime (UK stat). So if you are not directly affected it is highly likely at least one person you know is. Keeping that in mind, there should be increased importance placed on having conversations about mental health. 
The conversations should be natural and not embarrassing or stigma - charged. 
I am sorry to say I do judge what  can say to different people and I do judge their ability to understand. I am not sorry that I relate more to certain people or their stories. I am delighted that I have opportunity to: listen, read, watch, converse with many different people about mental health as a general topic and to discuss our own stories and struggles.  I am delighted because this shows more and more people are talking about mental health. 
This after all is something that does affect us all, whatever background or culture we come from.

When I think about 'the face of mental health' apart from seeing a vertical spinning fruit machine with different heads, bodies, legs. I think about me and the people I have met through talking about mental health, I think about the struggles we have, I think about the good days and the bad days. I think about how great it is we are able to talk about mental health. I also think about those people that struggle with mental health and don't know what's happening or who to go to. I think about the people that don't realise we all have mental health, just as we have physical health.
It is with those people in mind (and a few other things, my mind is abit.....that's a longer story!) that I started blogging and podcasting.

Let's keep talking about mental health. If your not sure who it affects, look in the mirror. "

Mikes social media - 
Twitter - @Mike_Douglas
Podcast - (Mike's Open Journal) available on iTunes & acast. 

my social media -

Twitter - @LiVNiZZZLE
Email - livnizzzle@gmail.com

Thanks for reading! <3










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