If you follow mental health awareness or are even just on social media, you are probably aware that February 7th 2019 is Time To Talk Day. Founded in 2014 (something I learnt recently) and going into it’s fifth year of promotion, it is a day to openly be able to talk about mental health. To hopefully promote understanding, break down stigma and offer more support and awareness to not only those who suffer with mental health but those who have people within their lives who suffer. To help broaden knowledge and support. This can happen in any place. Work, home, schools, social media platforms, a community centre. Think Macmillan Coffee mornings but with a mental health twist.
Since it’s all about talking, I’m going to talk of my experience. If you have followed my recent posts, my mental health took a massive hit in January 2019, do feel free to look back and understand my journey in ‘Changing my Normal’.
Mental health has always been present in my life. Being a child around mental health and given how it wasn’t something that was freely spoken about 19 years ago compared to today’s standards, especially if it was a male suffering; it’s not something I could fully comprehend as a child. It was something however I had lived with, witnessed and because of this tried to distance myself from. Vowing that I would never be that ‘weak’ ‘broken’ and ‘distant’ shadow of a person. It’s funny how even seeing the sufferings but not being able to understand their reasons why, not being able to emphasise with what their mental health brain was feeding them made me, a person who had complicated, overwhelming mental health featured so prominent around them growing up, create my own stigma and misunderstanding. I have been a person watching someone suffering with mental health and not understand. As well as presently a person who has accepted and allowed myself to be the person who suffers from mental health instability. That is why it is so important to talk about experiences openly and honestly.
Fast forward to 2019, I am somebody who has just recently admitted to myself that my own mental health isn’t in a healthy state. And that it is okay to do that, to say that and to feel that. It doesn’t make you any weaker or a lesser human no matter what your anxiety and depressive side tries to feed you. Sure sitting in the waiting room of a doctors, feeling tingles from nerves, contemplating running out of the entrance every time the door opened made me feel momentarily weak, unsure of what to even say, to feel. But I did it. I somehow turned weakness into strength. I went into the doctors office and told them I am not okay. What I got offered was some support. I received more understanding than I thought I would. I am psyching myself up to book a follow up appointment to discuss more coping methods but it is a start.
My strength comes from my two children. Being only young (two under five years) themselves, I want to promote and emphasise that mental health is just as important as physical health. To teach them how to process their own feelings, emotions and states. To set an example that not being able to cope and dealing with a daily struggle does not have to be your life. That there are steps that can be taken, obstacles to overcome but the main step is processing and understanding your own mind first. The most important thing to me is I do not want them to be me as a child. Confused by mental health, unsure of why certain things happen and then in turn effected in later life. It’s time to talk.
So let’s take this day. And every day beyond this to talk about the journeys you are on. To support those who are suffering silently. To advise those who need it, not only to overcome but to help their loved ones overcome. I’m taking this time to talk, and I have all the time in the world to listen.
What’s do you have to talk about?
If you find yourself needing some advice and guidance on mental health you can check out the following for some great information and reading:
ChangeYourMind – Change Your Mind are leading the #TimeToTalk Campaign. They offer lots of important about breaking stigma and what they hope to achieve.