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When I started my blog, my aim wasn’t just to write about love, sex, men and women. I wanted it to be broader than that, to cover a whole range of topics, but in a way that people would hopefully find interesting 😉 So far though, it would seem, that’s all I have written about……….love, sex, men and women!! This post I wanted to be about something different, but that people would still enjoy reading. A lot of ideas went through my mind, and then it hit me. That’s it. The Mind. Mental Health. A subject that is still shied away from but, none the less is still there.
About 3 months ago, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ll be honest and admit that the first thing that went through my mind was, what will other people think??? But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to think, do I really care what they think??? If they don’t like it, TOUGH!! So now, I am quite open about it. That’s not to say I run round the streets shouting ‘Hey look at me, I have BPD’ but I am more comfortable at least talking about it. So if someone asks me something I will happily answer them, if something happens, I find it easier to explain why it happened. The point is…..I’m not ashamed!!
Now it’s all well and good me saying I find talking about mental health, but what about other people?? I put this question to my opinionators…..Kate was quite open in her answer, “mental illness isn’t as much of a taboo subject as it used to be but it’s still unaccepted and poo pooed by people who have never experienced it. As you know ive suffered with depression for 12 years on and off. I’ve been to places no person should ever have to be. I’m not ashamed to talk about it. It’s part of who I am, of who I was then and I’ve learnt so much from what I‘ve been through. It’s made me who i am today.” The same with Paul, he had no problem admitting he had his own experience, “I dont think all mental illness are a taboo ~I my self have ADD and lisexia (dyslexix lol) it wasnt diagnosed till i went to uni (it was so nice to have a lable) but before i was dyagnosed i thought it was a bit of a myth and was used by lazy people who couldn’t be bothered to be accidemic im not a particularly lazy person i just struggle to concentrate on one thing at a time find it ways multitasking”. Ash, on the other hand, made a good point when he said ” I don’t see it as a taboo subject, but I see it as a poorly taught subject, the problem with things like depression and even sometimes things like aspergers is that if someone claims they have it a doctor will often be forced to agree, at the risk of being wrong later and finding themselves liable. Personally I believe that labeling something is giving people the excuse to behave like it. For example I go through periods of sadness and if a doctor diagnosed me with depression I would feel like it was ok to feel like it rather than trying to sort myself out, not to tar everyone with the same brush, there are some serious mental illnesses out there, I just think they are a lot fewer in number than people believe they are.” Is life, nowadays, just a bit more stressful and people feel the need to have a label when they can’t cope with things? Do people use a diagnosis as an excuse? Something to play on?? In contrast, Emma tells of people’s reaction to her diagnosis, “I think all mental illnesses still have a stigma, people can think that you are not capable of certain things and don’t know how to act around you. I was diagnosed with Bipolar in December – and much to my surprise people have accepted it pretty well! I’m still me!” and Aaron talks of his opinion on mental health and how, he himself, treats people; “definitely not and yes I have known a lot of people with different problems ranging from schizophrenia to psychosis to sever clinical depression. I don’t think I act any differently but I do try to take into account their situation and empathise with it.” Kelly also mentioned how, although she herself has never had any problems, she would deal with those around her who did, ” im quite happy to talk and help with illnesses iv not personally had anything but alot of my family have so I’ve adjusted to dealing with it and feel people should be more understanding of serious illness as alot of people are nieve”. Another person who was very open and forthcoming was Marie, “I defo think that mental illness is a taboo subject with a lot of people even in this day and age,and it shouldnt be, I think maybe some people who do suffer with this condition are still too afraid to mention it to people in case they get shunned, its like they have to try and hide the fact that they are suffering from this. I used to suffer myself with very bad depression it was when I was in my 20s and I shall never forget it either.My daughter was about 5 at the time and I still don’t know to this day what started it all off but it took about 18 months to fully recover from it with the docs help and plenty of meds,its something I never hope I have to go through again.I can talk about it now but at the time I couldn’t and just wanted to hide myself away from everyone I knew.” The person that hit home the hardest though was Liz, “yes and no….it is and isn’t a taboo subject, yes I have severe depression have had for 13 years, and yes I feel very comfortable talking about it . mental illness runs in my family and I have lost 2 members of my immediate family to suicide due to mental health.” It brings up and reminds us of the darker side to mental health!
From hearing everyone’s comments, it would seem that maybe it’s not such a taboo subject after all. Everyone seemed comfortable enough to talk about it, and it also showed that the majority had had their own personal experience. So is it more common than we realise??
People are more than happy to go to the doctor is they have something wrong with their body. An arm. A Leg. A sore throat. The mind is part of our body, surely the most important part, so why would people not want to keep that looked after. I see a psychiatrist every 3 months. It keeps me on track. I can get things off my mind. I learn how to cope with thoughts I might not want to have. In all, he helps me to look after my mind. I don’t see any embarrassment with that?? Why should anyone be embarrassed?? We don’t hide the fact when we have flu do we?? The world we live in today is a strange and complicated place, so it’s not surprising some people end up with mental health problems, but how much do you think could be passed down to us?? My own mother and father have had their own issues, luckily though they have come out stronger on the other side. Then there are people less fortunate, as Liz mentioned, she lost 2 family members to suicide, down to mental health issues. Don’t get me wrong there probably are people out there who try to milk it, for the attention or for many other reasons. But we need to remember that Mental Health issues are real, and that they are nothing to be ashamed of. If people just took the time to educate themselves, or at least try to understand slightly, then maybe we wouldn’t be loosing our loved ones to these kind of problems.
All it comes down to is if you are prepared to understand. If you are, brilliant, it’s a step closer to bringing it out in the open. To be able to help those who are truly suffering. And for those who aren’t prepared; that’s fine. But don’t knock something you have no idea about. Chances are, at some point in your life, you may need help too……….
**This blog is dedicated to Shippy who took his own life a year tomorrow, and too all the others who have lost their lives, because there was not enough help there for them. You will all be in our hearts forever, and never forgotten **