Today is World Mental Health Day 2015. I have read brave, beautiful, searingly honest, positive and negative testaments to the strength of the human mind on Facebook all day. It has brought me to tears of hope, anguish and fear, but always back to hope. Because that is what today is all about; hope for recovery and/or remission, hope for the freedom to be open about one’s health without stigma or fear or anger, hope that the positive will come again and the miasmic confusing fog will lift and thought will tessellate and not dissipate, hope when the millstone is lifted and the rocks crushing the chest will turn to sand and one can breathe again, for a while at least.
I have written about my own issues before, in July 2012. I remain in the ongoing process of recovery, this time. Each time I learn more about myself, my triggers and how best to treat and return to a state of health. For everyone this path is different, and for everyone this path is different every time if their condition is cyclical or remittent as mine is. Even permanent conditions require review and maintenance as our bodies mould and develop through time.
There is no shame in mental imbalance or health or however the person living with the issues prefers to define it. There should be no stigma. We are not fodder for horror movies and since when is a dramatic depiction of a mental illness in such films to be taken as factually based? The ‘Psycho’ or the ‘Schizo’ are archetypes which do not bear up to scrutiny yet the fear imbued in us by those words is the essence of the othering and endangering of the people who deal with health issues which include psychotic episodes and/or schizophrenic attacks. They are infinitely more danger to themselves, and are in more danger from the extremes of prejudice against those with mental health issues (my preferred term).
I live with fear at the moment. Fear which is both rational and irrational but I cannot tell when the ‘ir’ comes in. There is basis for my fear, medical and recorded. I was about to come off medication when diagnosed; punched in the throat I one-eightied my well-being immediately. Most of the time, I am forgetful which is good. Sometimes I am thoughtful, which is good/bad. Then again… always the then again.
Empathy is essential in those around people dealing with issues and as 1 in 4 are, you will know someone in this category. Empathy is built by showing it. Empathy is in action, not only reaction. Bring the topic up if possible, make it clear you empathise.
Stigma is like tar. Feathers of scorn, fearful glances, quietened conversation and nervous giggles stick and build up and make the burden of caring and making people feel okay or maintaining a denial smother the work of moving toward health. Empathy will glide like oil to smooth the tar free and leave people to carry the weight of themselves only.
So why am I writing this? Compulsion, I think. Confronting fear, even if it is not the same one. Putting my words where my mind is. Maintaining the process of my own mind in breaking down a barrier so that hopefully, if this is shared, it may help break down someone else’s. I don’t know if it is any good, but that isn’t important. It’s my truth.
I guess I’m sharing because, really, we are all a bit mental, aren’t we?
To follow up, try these: