Time to talk day; why talking is important.

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.

 

TIME TO TALK DAY

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Responses

  1. Rupert D
    | Reply

    Hello Andrea (and all fellow mental health suffers out there)

    I picked up your story on the BBC News app (along with the other sufferers) and really appreciate all your efforts to bring to the forefront the ongoing problems associated with mental health.

    I have suffered with mental health issues for the majority of my life and as I move towards the middle stages of my existence, I have mixed views as to the overall benefits of talking about mental health and how much it has helped or hindered me. I received CBT and DT about a year ago in which I discussed many issues concerning my childhood and beyond. This in fact, I found very beneficial as I discovered that I’d been experiencing from depression and anxiety for many years. (Stupidly, I’d always thought that it was ‘the norm’ to feel the way I did!) I now understand my mental health issues so much more completely and along with medication, I am able to live from day to day and cope well enough although probably won’t ever be cured of my condition. I wouldn’t be in the place I am now had it not been for a good GP and therapist, and probably more importantly, some amazing and supportive loved ones around me.

    Therefore, on a medical and therapeutic level, I give a thumbs up for talking. (I do appreciate however, this is not the same experience for everyone and I have heard some non complimentary and probably quite justified stories regarding some of the services that specialise in and support the mentally ill)

    With regards to talking and opening up to people that I meet in my every day life (such as work, hobbies and interests, etc) though, my experiences have generally been poor and in fact almost catastrophic to my well being. This might sound dramatic, but unfortunately true. I have been quite hurt at times by the bigoted and non understanding attitude of some. I’m certainly not the type of person who would walk up to someone and start a conversation by saying “Hi, I”m Rupert and I have depression”. In these circumstances, I could probably understand that this might bring about a negative response. I have always been an individual that takes time to get to know people and trust them.

    Last year, I had the most dreadful experience of being let down by some close friends who I met at a local gym and claimed they understood about depression. In fact, two of them said they had suffered mental health issues themselves and one was medicated for it accordingly. However, when I was going through a bad episode, they were unable to cope with it and in fact isolated me, so much so that eventually I had no choice but to leave the gym that I had attended for many years and which was also important regarding the management of my mental health. Incidently, I haven’t heard from, or be in contact with them since.

    I would just like to advise anyone who suffers from mental health, be very careful who you tell and adopt as ‘friends’, particularly those who suffer from mental health themselves. Not everyone’s issues are the same and some are more mature than others with regards to it. Talking is a good thing in the right circumstances. If you are a very sensative, emotional and ‘deep’ individual who suffers from depression or anxiety (like me), the world is an extraordinary dangerous, lonely and difficult place in which to live. However, having said that, I’d would rather be here then not.

    So to all those who suffer and have been in the same boat as me, keep going but protect yourselves and only give out to those whom you really, really know and trust. I send my good wishes to you all.

    • Andrea Wade
      | Reply

      Hi Rupert,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and leave your thoughts – I really appreciate it.
      I really relate to a lot of what you’ve written, I think the world can be a scary place when you suffer with your mental health even more so. I have also had negative reactions to my mental health condition and have found myself isolated and mocked as a result.

      I am glad it hasnt detered you from talking all togther,and I hope youve found some peace now. Know your not alone, so many people have similar experiences and I wish you all the best, thanks again x

  2. borvestinkral
    | Reply

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your web site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

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