Lets challenge some preconceptions

Okay guys I have something interesting to point out that may challenge a few preconceptions.

Without a doubt there is stigma attached to mental illness. I have heard some people share the view that those with mental health issues are ‘dirty’ ‘trampy’ ‘dangerous’ and even to be avoided. This isn’t the case. Anybody at any time can fall poorly with mental illness regardless of class, status or background.

 

I’ve been harping on about this for some time now yet daily I am still faced with stigmatising opinions, some people think by talking openly about your mental health your ‘attention seeking’. Not everyone, I mean last time I checked depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar and the many other mental health conditions are medical conditions, they’re illnesses. They aren’t some trend to jump on, they are serious conditions that millions of people suffer with. On the flip side it isn’t a crime to want to discuss your illness because our life is ours to live and discuss, our experiences are ours to share if we choose to do so.

 

Regardless lets think about the whole concept of mental illness, there are so many different mental health conditions which all present themselves very differently and have different symptoms but they have one thing in common, they are caused by a part of your body falling poorly. That’s not a crime and if anything the only thing we should judge is our society’s attitudes towards these illness. Let’s stop thinking its okay to belittle, mock or judge somebody because they have an illness because that’s what’s happening.

 

Another thing is when people that don’t know me on a personal level but have read my blogs assume I’m a really serious and moody person due to the fact I have a mental illness and blog about it. I think its a stereotype  and preconception to assume just because somebody has an illness they cant be fun or happy. In fact at work I’m usually the one that cracks the jokes, the one always laughing. I still have my hobby’s, a relationship, friends and most importantly I still have a laugh. I’m just a regular 23 year old, the only difference is I happen to have a long term illness. that doesn’t define me. my ugly laugh however probably does.

 

Below are two photographs of myself. One taken during one of my worst relapses where I was severely poorly and my mental health was suffering to a huge degree. The other was taken during a period of great health where my mental state was strong and well. I bet you can’t differentiate between the two?! Think twice before judging those who are mentally ill because you can’t always see the illness manifest itself. There are so many preconceptions when it comes to mental health. I bet you there are more people in your life suffering with their mental health than you know and I also bet you can’t see my poorly in either picture.

 

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preconceptions

 

4 Responses

  1. mamma jude
    | Reply

    I am the mother /carer of a ptsd and bipolar young adult – and i beg to differ – i know exactly which one of those pics is you when not well – i am so finely tuned and educated to this that i can spot the second my daughter is feeling ‘off’ even before my husband can.Perhaps you may be right in thinking you can hide it or that the general public is unaware but those of us who live with it can spot it a mile off , even in other people . I also note that the common denominator in photos you all take of yourselves is the need to pose in such a way that noone will notice how deeply unhappy and disappointed with life you are . I always say that when my daughter begins to look natural on photos i will know she is becoming happier with her real self . Not happening yet though. And in recent weeks i have been dwelling somewhat on the invisibility of those of us who support and care for you all .We go through the same tragic life stopping periods as you do and we need as much help and support as we can get – however we do not get it , neither financially nor from exetended family and friends , who as you will probably know shy away , or dont quite believe what we are telling them . They should learn that this illness can be terminal just like cancer .As you can see i am having a bad patch myself just now , but hey I will get over it because my brain seems wired to cope . Lucky for my daughter .

  2. Andrea Wade
    | Reply

    I often say the same thing, I can notice in my peers and those around me if somebody is struggling because I know it from experience and so I do agree with what your saying l.

    For myself, taking pictures like these isn’t to hide any unhappiness it’s to defy my illness, to keep going in a manner I would have done before.

    Again, I understand where your coming from in regards to those caring for people with mental illness, my family often struggled without much help or support and so I agree it is an area of neglect by services, one I hope can with the help of wider family members

    Thank you so much for sharing your views, it really does help me to have an insight into other people’s experiences and thoughts, I wish you and your daughter all the health, happiness and peace in the world

  3. Adam
    | Reply

    I think I can tell which is which, but I wouldnt be 100%. I know how to paint a front on and like to think nobody can tell. When I was 19 and in my final year at university I felt a light go out in my body and head. I felt this feeling before when I was 11 but I managed to suppress it and never talk about it. But one day, pretty much out of the blue I felt it hit me so hard I almost passed out. It was the feeling of self-loathing, hating myself, for no apparent reason. I hated everything about myself. “What, but you’re so happy?”, “you are Mr positive, you can’t feel down”, “I never noticed you being depressed”, “your just being silly, everyone gets sad” All things people have said to me when I told them I got signed off with depression (low mood) and anxiety by the doctors. Well guess what guys, I can lie and deserve an Oscar for my acting. I can paint a smile on in seconds and pretend like I’m a millionaire with no cares in the world, but you know what? I feel like screaming, kicking you all and running off the Japan to live in a cave. You never know the true feelings of someone and never trust them just by words. If people had paid a little more attention they would have seen the cracks in my charade and noticed not all was happy in my head. I lived a lie. Mr Happy! Mr Brightside, for god sake, that was my ring tone for 2 years, surly that was a subliminal message for help. This all slowly got worse until I was 24 and had a full on emotional breakdown and thought about suicide for the first time. I was always positive and ‘happy’, always had a smile and had fun with everyone I met. It reminds me of a quote by the late Robin Williams “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” I’m now 29 and come to adapt to my mental health issues. Adapt is the key word as I have had to live with it and every now and then ‘bang’ it hits me again.

  4. Francisco Bordi
    | Reply

    Its wonderful as your other posts : D, appreciate it for posting.

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