Like many, I suffer from mental health problems.
I have been diagnosed, which is both helpful and frightful, and I am currently on a variety of medication which stabilises my emotional state. Without this medication (and the right psychological help) I would not be in much of a state to write anything. In fact, I might not even be here at all.
But I guess I’m just being melodramatic. Or so stigma would say.
Unfortunately there is a vast amount of stigma around mental health. Type “mental health” or “depression” or “suicide” into youtube. Scroll through the comments. You will find myriad views on mental health. People kick and scream that depression is nothing more than attention seeking. The same goes with twitter, facebook and instagram.
Some people on social media believe that depression is curable by going for a run or maybe joining a gym. Others think that those verbalising their problems are seeking attention. And then there are those who simply can not empathise with those who suffer because they may not have gone through something themselves.
Every mental health case is unique. No two people are the same. A run might make one person feel good and yet another person may not even be able to get out of bed. When one person goes to the gym someone else might be punching a wall. Someone cycles, someone else cries.
I’ve been around anger. Sadness. Confusion. I’ve seen helplessness. Sheer cannot-even-stand-up helplessness. It is a strange thing to witness someone who looks like they have had a pillar removed and they have simply crumbled. To see the thousand mile stare of someone in mental isolation is a sometimes sad and sometimes chilling experience.
I run, go to the gym, lift weights and cycle but depression caught up. Some problems are deep-rooted and need a different kind of treatment. Psychological help and mental exercises to rewire the brain and change thought patterns. And yes, medication.
The stigma around mental health is a by-product of misunderstanding and a fear of something different. Try asking yourself why mental health has a stigma. Try asking yourself why you don’t know what to say to people suffering from mental health issues.
It is a lack of understanding.
Photo above – still of a movie I shot in my mother-in-law’s back garden during snow storm