Today is Time to Talk day. National Time to Talk day takes place on the first Thursday in February and was created with the hopes of bringing the nation together in discussing their mental health. It seems such a simple task yet millions of people every day hide their struggles due to the stigma attached to mental health. Lets break that silence together and be part of a brilliant movement.
Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people and so it bewilders me that there is still such a negative stance on this type of illness. I mean if I was to write about suffering with a heart condition I’m sure sympathy would be the emotion people felt. Yet because I suffer from a condition involving the brain, fear is often the emotion that breaks through.
Silence is a huge fuel towards stigma. Silence allows imaginations to run rife and for negative depictions to be created. I spent my whole life being silent about my struggles where possible, only talking in medical settings to my therapist or doctor and then to my parents. Discussing my mental health with my friends wasn’t an option when I was younger and so without even realising it, I had isolated myself.
Cruel taunts still occurred, the description of my illness was that I was in ‘death mode’ and my illness became more terrifying and more isolating. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is so relevant towards the issue of stigma against mental health. Why should we feel unable to talk openly about our feelings? Why should we feel scared of other peoples reactions?
I would like to say one thing to anybody suffering with their mental health. Your illness may try and take a lot from you, your rational thoughts, your independence but it wont take your strength. It may feel like it does but believe me, you have a strength inside of you that is more powerful than you know. Your illness will try to take a lot from you and so there comes the fight not to let it. Whilst your fighting you need support and talking to those you trust is the best way to get that. Do not let other peoples ignorance take that from you. No, not everyone will be kind but that’s the way of the world. No matter what anybody says there is nothing wrong with struggling emotionally, mentally or physically.
Today is a day to talk openly without fear of judgement, and you don’t need big gestures to do this. A chat with a family member or friend over a cup of tea is an amazing step. The words ‘How are you today?’ are invaluable. Lets spend the day asking questions with the intention to really listen to the answers, not just because its a social requirement. Lets care.
Care about each other and our well being. Lets use today to restore our faith in each other and really support each other. If anybody has any questions for myself then feel free to ask. Feel free to read my blogs and know your not alone. If you are unsure how to support a loved one then ask. Words are important and support is indispensable. Remember – its okay to talk.