I’ve had this in my drafts for a little while now, but I thought it could be a good time to post it considering it’s mental health awareness week.
Writing this blog post really scares me as I don’t really like being open with e v e r y o n e about mental health. I did, however, create my blog as a place for me to write, and sort of as a diary replacement so I suppose it shouldn’t be somewhere I shy away from writing about what I would like to write about. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the taboo/stigma surrounding mental health and it’s something I wanted to discuss..
Mental health is obviously an incredibly broad subject and therefore there are many different approaches or viewpoints on the subject but that isn’t what I want to go into. What bothers me is when people ask “Why is there taboo surrounding mental health, people should just be open about it’. If you read about mental health or if you’ve spoken to professionals etc about your mental health, you’ll find a very common thing to be said to you is: “If you broke your leg you wouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed so why be embarrassed about a mental illness.”
I might be completely alone with this, but that statement r e a l l y bugs me. I don’t think the two can be compared in the slightest. So, the rest of this post is basically going to be me explaining reasons as to why people struggle to speak about their mental health / seek help.
Mental health is a vicious cycle as it isn’t openly spoken about, which then makes everybody feel alone in suffering. A mental health illness isn’t visible from the outside and sometimes those who suffer can come across as mentally well human beings. This then adds to the cycle as sufferers then don’t want to speak out.
Everybody has a fear of being judged with certain things and mental health can be one. It’s an illness that can take over your mind, and take over your thought process. When struggling, there are many times when you hate yourself for things you think or just hate yourself in general. If this is the case and you are massively judging yourself for not being normal – it isn’t so easy to then open up to somebody else.
Some people are simply private people and don’t like other people to know what’s going on in their lives generally. This is another vicious cycle as if you have always been this way inclined, then even if you’re desperate to speak out and want to shout it from a mountain, you just can’t. It isn’t you, it’s not the way you are and therefore speaking out can be difficult.
Mental health can be scary. Although not so much anymore, mental health illnesses have previously been portrayed as the sufferer being crazy. Who would want to speak out about what they’re going through if a minority, no matter how small, will then think of you as being crazy?
WHAT’S THE POINT
The final reason, in my opinion, is having a what’s the point attitude. You may have spoken to somebody before and it didn’t help or seen another person seek help and it not help. Sometimes it may not even be due to this happening and it can simply be from the sufferer believing that this is them, this is their personality and therefore not believing it can be changed.
I want to say, don’t get me wrong, it’s really really important to seek help and speak out if you’re struggling with your mental health. I want to make clear that I’m not insinuating that it’s OK for there to be a taboo about mental health because I think it’s so common that there shouldn’t be one at all. I do however think it could be helpful for others to understand the mindset of those struggling and understand that it isn’t as cut and dry as a broken bone.