Mental Health Awareness

I have seen so many brave and emotional posts across social media in the last few weeks raising the awareness of mental health. I wish that I could share my own story but that’s something I still don’t feel comfortable with: instead I will discuss the topic in general with a few examples along the way.

For a start, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit that you have a mental health disorder, there’s nothing wrong with it and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that there is. Almost everyone will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, be it a mild anxiety attack to full on depression. It’s a chemical imbalance, you’re not a freak, it’s your brain’s way of reacting to something, and maybe it’s an indication that stuff need changed in your life.

You may feel alone in your suffering, looking at everyone enjoying themselves whilst you’re sitting there hating yourself, but as we tragically found out in my small home town of Kilwinning, the seemingly happiest, most vibrant people suffer from these imbalances too.

Society can be too quick to judge these imbalances, and many still consider the topic as private and taboo, something that shouldn’t be spoken about and issues swept under the carpet. This shouldn’t be the case because there’s tens of thousands of people out there, suffering in silence, too scared to speak out about their issues in the fear of being labelled as a “freak”. If we treated these people with the care and understanding that they deserve then we would have a lot less people dying too young.

I’ve seen many people getting branded because of self-inflicted scars but maybe these are a cry for help as opposed to criticism and degradation. More often than not though these scars are mental rather than physical, so how do we know when these people are struggling too? The thing is, we can’t: there’s no way to tell when people are suffering and until this stigma changes with cognitive disorders then people are going to suffer in silence.

I suffered a lot when I was younger and psychologists and medication didn’t work, for me the best healer is time and positive changes to my life, but obviously everyone is different. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfect because everyone has their small issues, but I can safely say that I’m the happiest I’ve been in years.

I hope that even reading this helps someone and please don’t be afraid to look out help.

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