Recently, The Manic Years has had many of you emailing in your first hand experiences of what it is like to live with difficulties from a variety of backgrounds reguarding mental health. So far, the stories in the feature has inspired people, reached out to many and succeeded on expressing a multitude of inner turmoil that is so often hard to explain for some.
It is clear that attitudes towards mental health is changing, thanks to all the hard work of so many people have advocated for mental health, and the rights of those who struggle. Admitting you have a problem, and even asking for help is getting easier for some as having depression – and many more illnesses – is becoming more normalised.
However, we are still lacking in how information about mental health disorders is delivered, and many thousands, millions out there are still struggling to recognise what exactly they are suffering with;
“I can’t be Bipolar, because I am not happy, right?”
“I feel numb all the time, but it’s obviously not depression. Depression means you are sad, this must be something else.”
“I cut last night. I can’t explain why. I will just hide it and pretend like it didn’t happen.”
This is something I have come across (and even felt myself) over the years. People are being misinformed. People are not educted enough.
It is so important that we take a stand and speak out about our experiences. Go on to one of the most popular health websites, where it explains symptoms of anxiety and you get the standard list of symptoms; Heart racing, sweating, shortness of breath. Worry….
Can you relate this to your anxiety? Or is it so much more than that?
It seems that facts and figures aren’t enough, what does this information spread to our ‘non-sufferers’ out there? The people who have never experienced depression/anxiety and the rest as such?
CLASSIC SYMPTOMS; “Heart racing, sweating, shortness of breath…Worry.”
THEIR REPLY; “Just take some water. Sit down. Stop over thinking things! Problem solved.
Do you see the issue here?
Sometimes there is no logic behind mental health. There is no one solution. It is so much more. Anxiety is so much more than worry. Depression is so much more than feeling sad. Bipolar is so much more than a sad/happy state. Self-injury is so much more than an act of agression towards one’s self. If people who have never really fully experienced the wrath of psychological problems, then why should we expect people to recognise what is happening to them when they do get ill?
It is so valuable to others who are lost that those who have experienced mental disorders speak out about our feelings and our realities. Sharing not only makes it okay, makes people feel like they aren’t alone, but it also gives people something to relate to. It is the key to understanding when we are suffering. Speaking up, and speaking louder can save lives.
The ‘Sharing Stories’ feature will continue to do that, and I have many hopes that each and every one of your experiences will connect to someone, somewhere in the world and give them not just the knowledge they need for understanding what they are going through, but also the comfort they need to carry on and the confidence to speak out themselves.
Please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to take part and be featured on the blog, if you have a story to tell or you just want to share your thoughts about your experiences. They matter, so much. I am so proud of everyone who has contributed and who has joined me in this journey so far, and I do hope our army gets stronger. A bigger voice. A fight to speak louder.