Ignorance is not bliss. But like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand, it doesn’t mean it isn’t so. – Lemony Snicket
There is such a heavy social media influence lately which I don’t necessarily believe is a bad thing, but of course everything has it’s pro’s and cons.
Recently I’ve noticed that if it isn’t on social media, people do not believe it’s happening. If you don’t post about your new job or announce you’ve bought a new home, then it’s almost impossible that these things could really be happening behind closed doors, in people’s private lives. Shock!
I feel this is the same concept with mental health, if there isn’t some form of proof of your depression then you’re probably just a boring and moody person who prefers to stay at home for some weird reason. If you don’t explain your eating disorder then you’re probably just annoying and fussy and if you can’t perform daily activities because of your crippling anxiety then it’s very likely you’re just an attention seeker, right? Wrong.
If you’re reading and relating to this right now then I’m here to say I stand with you, not against you! You do not need to prove yourself or your illness. You do not need to wave a doctor’s note in peoples faces just so they don’t question you. As if it isn’t hard enough dealing with our mental battles, we have to battle the outside world too. You might tell your friends about whatever you’re feeling and at first they’ll care and show interest, they’ll ask you about it a few times but by the third or fourth time of asking if you’ve been to see your GP or tried to seek help and you reply timidly “no, not yet”, they’re suddenly irritated by your lack of responsibility. In their eyes, you have a problem so solve it! Hurry up. Come on, what are you waiting for?
If only they understood it wasn’t that easy. I wonder, why don’t they realise that our mental health problems are often what makes it so hard to ‘seek help’. Well, I realised it is not our job to convince anybody.
When I was first diagnosed with depression I was so worried about others and their opinions.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the word depression is chucked around so freely, we say it without any substance. In the beginning, some people understood straight away and for others, it didn’t come so easily. I am open to trying to educate people because under the circumstances, ignorance really isn’t bliss but I will not by any means try to convince anyone. Look at it this way, if I’ve hurt my arm do I have to wear a cast to prove I’ve hurt my arm or is it enough that I’ve said I’ve injured my arm?
Let’s focus on us, we have enough to deal with. We have our own mental battles which are hard enough so lets not try to take on the world just yet. As much as it would make everything just that little bit easier if people were a little more open minded, our mental health illnesses are not made concrete by others’ acceptance and acknowledgement. Bit by bit, we’ll break down these negative stigma’s of mental health but for right now, I understand and I stand with you.
Follow Elise on Instagram @Elisekirstenspeaks
*If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health problems and you’d like to read more about how to help yourself or a loved one then follow the links below for more information. For more urgent help, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 from any phone.
If you are under 25 you can get support from The Mix here.