An honest blog sharing the ups and downs of my personal mental health journey

Friday, 7 February 2020

Time To Talk Day

I've been seriously crap at posting recently and deleted my last post by accident because I'm a moron. I'm clearly not big fat blogger enough to know how to un-delete(?) something so that's gone forever now, bye. 

I've got quite a lot in the mind tank that I want to write about but I've been massively unproductive writing wise because all of my time is currently taken up by looking for a new job. 

I'm studying to be a Counsellor at the end of the month.  This is something extremely close to my heart and I've realised this is what I want to do with my life - a huge change from the career I was building before. 

Speaking of counselling, this brings me on quite nicely to what my post is actually about. 

February 6th has been branded 'Time To Talk Day', the aim to encourage people to speak up about mental health and reach out to someone you know that might be struggling. 

Days like this are great for raising awareness of mental health and reminding us that we need to banish the stigma and actually recognise when someone we know (or very importantly, ourselves) aren't quite feeling right. 

This should be something we keep in mind every day.

I've always been very open about feeling shit. But I'm only open about feeling shit when I'm not feeling shit anymore. The way I'm (trying) to explain this is important - I know first hand that when you're deeply depressed the last thing you want to do is talk about it. You don't really want to talk about anything. 

Looking back to my last period of depression I would just get angry and upset if someone tried to talk to me about it. The reason I did this is because explaining it (especially to someone that hasn't gone through it) is genuinely exhausting. "Cheer up, it'll be okay" blah blah blah, no please just fuck off. I can't cheer up and it won't be okay* so I'm sorry, but I can't be assed to explain it to you right now.

This sounds harsh, and is really, but if you're on the receiving end of a conversation like this please know it's not meant rudely or ungratefully, it's probably the illness talking. Be patient and try to empathise with what the other person may be feeling, even if you don't completely understand it yourself. 

Empathy is literally THE most important thing in the world. If you don't have empathy, you don't have much at all. 

Anyway. Yes. I've always been very open about feeling shit, but this is a rarity. Unfortunately (but understandably) there aren't enough people who feel comfortable speaking up about depression or knowing what to say to someone who's depressed. 

Being able to speak openly about depression isn't something that comes naturally to me. It's scary and uncomfortable and I spend basically all my time worried what other people think about me. "OOoOoh she must be well crazy. Last time I saw her she was well miserable and weird" etc, etc. Yeah, probably. 

But the truth is, if people don't speak up about it, it will continue to be a ridiculously taboo subject and will continue to make people feel uncomfortable to even mention it. You don't need to shout from the rooftops that you're down and don't know what to do with yourself, you don't have to talk about it if you're having a particularly rough day and you want everyone and everything to piss off (story of my life), you don't have to moan about it publicly on a shitty blog, but please see the importance of recognising when you or someone else is in a black hole and needs to get out. 

Unless you talk, how will you get help? How will you help other people? And how will we get other people to understand what it feels like?

Telling someone that you genuinely want to die (horrible, right?) is hardly the nicest or easiest or most normal thing to open up about, but 9/10 times the person you're telling will do everything in their power to help/get help for you. And that is why talking about it is important.

If you need help, please don't be ashamed to ask for it. Remember, this happens to 1 in 4 of us - that's bloody huge. 

Before I go, to anyone in Bristol that reads this for some strange reason, there is a 'Talk Club' once a week at both Bristol Beer Factory in Bedmo and in Horfield. This club is specifically aimed at men who may be struggling with their mental health and want to maintain good mental health through the simple act of listening and being listened to. It's really surprising how much talking can actually help and this group is a great way to do it. 

The 'Talk Club Bristol' Facebook group has around 200 members so go and get involved. 

Take care of yourselves, pals. And if you don't feel like talking about it today, try again tomorrow.

*it WILL be okay, but I know being told that constantly is annoying as hell.


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