Hello all you wonderful people!
I don't say anything for a week and then I update my blog twice in less than one hour, but it's a special occasion!
It's Mental Health Awareness Week 2016!!
The wonderful Nora from NoraFinds informed me about it. And my first thought was "How did I miss this?". My second thought however was that I have to write a blog post about mental health.
I have previously mentioned my struggles with mental illness on the blog (here, here and here). I suffer from OCD, anxiety and depression, so for me mental health awareness is super important. For the sake of this special week, I wanted to try and put into words why mental health awareness is so crucial to talk about.
Mental health is extremely important, and very underrated. If you are mentally healthy, then it might be difficult to understand what the big deal is. But here's the thing, you can't really imagine being mentally ill until you become mentally ill. It is easy to imagine having a broken bone in the body. But an unhealthy mental condition is very hard to imagine.
So for that reason alone, it is super important that the people that experience mental health problems talk about it, to increase the understanding in the people who are lucky enough not to suffer.
But for people to start talking about mental health issues it has to become okay to talk about it. The stigma needs to be removed, and it needs to be accepted. For that to happen we need more understanding which comes from talking about it. So you see, it's a catch-22.
Some brave people (and I suppose that also includes me) are talking about mental health and illness, even though there is still a lot a stigma attached to it. But this needs to be done, because mental illness affects a big proportion of the world!
We need to stop viewing mental illnesses as something that can be turned off by the flick of a switch. Mental illnesses are legitimate illnesses! They are just as real as cancer, diabetes and the flu. Take it from me, I'm a cancer researcher.
But seriously, if we're going to change the way we look at mental illnesses and mental health we have to become more open about it as a community. We have to stop silencing people that need to talk about it, we have to stop attaching guilt and shame to it. Once we've done that it'll become just as easy to say "I had the flu last week" as "I suffer from depression".
I think my rant is done.
So I want to finish up this post by saying this...
If you are suffering from mental health issues, don't be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in it. If you break a bone you go to the doctor, if you suffer from mental illness (or think you do) then you should also see a doctor. Talk about it if you can. With anyone!
And I want anyone reading this to know that you can always contact me (you'll find my email address under 'Contact') if you need to.