As this title would suggest, I’m about to talk about mental health. Because why shouldn’t I? The recent and tragic death of Caroline Flack has got pretty much everyone talking about mental health issues and the impacts these can have on the lives, careers, relationships and everything in between of the people who suffer from them.
Caroline’s suicide made one thing painfully clear to me; that is, the disconnect between our recognition of mental health issues’ growing prevalence, and the absolute taboo associated with vocalising them. Clearly, this is dangerous, for those suffering from mental illness and, in so many cases, for those around them too.
I haven’t exactly been quiet about my own anxiety struggles, and I have been told by various different people that I shouldn’t post these so openly on my blog. The point has been made to me many times that, given the fact that, as a writer, everything and anything I write, here or anywhere else, is under scrutiny by current employers, potential employers, colleagues, etc, etc.
Before, I’ve taken this advice and hidden any posts relating to mental health when job hunting or starting somewhere new. But, with the aforementioned disconnect between recognition and acceptance, I feel that I should be allowed to “vocalise” my own mental health issues here, in the space I have created for myself to do just that.
I’ve said it so many times in the last few months, but my blog is my space for my own self-expression. I made it to be a safe space where I can express my own thoughts without any agenda other than, to get the words out of my head and onto a page.
And I hope that in doing so, it has, or will, become a safe space for others. To help them understand that they’re not alone, that there’s no such thing as “normal”, or that they too can speak out about whatever’s going on in their head.
Contrary to popular belief, admitting your struggling with mental health is not a sign of weakness. It is opening yourself up to vulnerability, sure, but that act is, in itself, a sign of bravery that should never be frowned upon.
Talking about mental health is so important when it comes to understanding why you are the way you are, both for yourselves and others. It doesn’t have to be a big, bold statement. It just has to be an acknowledgement, to someone you trust, that you’re going through a tough time, you’re not feeling yourself, you need a shoulder to cry on… Whatever it may be.
Mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of and most people suffer from some sort of mental ill-health (I won’t say illness, because that’s not necessarily true) at some point in their lifetime. That doesn’t make anyone a bad person, bad at their job, a bad friend or anything else. It just makes us all human.