Trigger Warning: Suicide
Here goes! I’m answering this question on its head today. As usual – in the last 8 weeks, I am sprawled in bed whilst Ted and my beanie looks after my morning can of juice, Diet Coke. I wake up to yet another day in Hergest ward.
There are very many people, far too much to name that have been massively supportive whilst I’m in here and read my blog daily. And there are others, who have faded away quietly; vocal in their absence that they don’t think I should be blogging daily. I accept that people deal with things differently, but for some to have the audacity to insinuate to close friends that my attention by blogging is in the wrong place, and that it should be on recovering I find is ridiculous, also astonishingly insulting! Writing is and has always been a part of my recovery. It’s cathartic whilst also giving me insight to how far I’ve come, what the real challenges have been and could I do something different if it happened again? I would never pass such harsh judgment without putting myself in another person’s shoes, which is practically impossible for us to do as humans. It’s all to do with empathic intelligence. If certain individuals can’t hack reading about it, they are more than welcome to unfollow and sever ties with the blog.
Why share my life the way I do? First of all, it’s my story to share. It will be different to yours and it will have peaks and troughs and I find that sharing helps. It helps me and it helps others who are experiencing similar battles. My story won’t change regardless of if I share it or not, so why not? After all, I’m living with an illness, something I cannot help and there is no shame in that.
Note the journey Writing is another way of noting my journey. The better/Orange days are much easier to write about that the blue days, but I wouldn’t be true to the experience or myself if I were to pick and choose which days I write about. There are days in here where I have tried continuously to end my life, I’ll share that piece of information but will never go on to elaborate on methods or the steps used to do so. I’d deem that unethical. I never lie … it’s just that I hold back on details regarding specific instances of attempts at my own life.
Why wash your dirty linen in public? If I had a pound every time I hear this, I’d probably be sipping cocktails in the Maldives by now. It’s an idea that infuriates me. To compare mental health to dirty linen is a huge insult – there’s nothing dirty about mental health and there’s certainly no shame attached to it. One should be able to discuss mental health indoors and outdoors, no stigma attached. Mental illness can affect 1 in 4 and probably will go on to do so. However, If I could wash my mental health gleamingly in public as you would a white crisp bed sheet, I’d do it without thinking twice – and then I’d lay it gently on the line to dry unblemished in the sun’s heat.
It’ll put prospective employers off This is a difficult one. By law, your employer or prospective employer Is not allowed to discriminate against you because you have a mental illness such as depression. But, it’s a weird thought that employers can read about your mental health journey online, especially if you choose to share your journey publicly, not under private settings. Lots of people are too scared to blog and share experiences because they’re scared that it will impact on their future career perspectives. Mental health is something we each live with day to day. A suffering individual can be both bright and flawless at work – regardless of a mental health issues. It is something that many individuals in employment have learnt to deal with meticulously so that it does not affect their functioning at work. I believe that employers should value honesty in such situations and see sharing as a strength, that can help the individual that’s doing the sharing, but also others who might be experiencing similar MH issues.
If you talk mental health continuously, others will know you as the mad woman … This statement I find deeply discouraging. The statement I think was born and developed out of the silence MH policies of the past. Some individuals continuously find themselves looking above their shoulder, scarred that others might perceive them negatively. We need people to talk honestly about MH, not just to tick a few politically correct boxes and move on. We know that there is more to each and every person on earth than mental health, but being able to talk about MH honestly will do a lot more good than harm.
Those who speak freely and eloquently about MH will be my ambassadors, not mad men/women.