Sunday, 23 October 2016

What I Wish People Understood About My Mental Illness

Nowadays, what I really wish people understood about my mental health problem, is that it could affect anybody.

We all have mental health.

Just as we all have physical health.

Having a mental health difficulty does not define who we are. It does not separate us from the rest of 'normal' society. We certainly shouldn't be made to feel that way.

Just as we can have good physical health and poor physical health at different stages in our lives, we can also have good mental health and poor mental health. Some people simply need more support than others at different times in their lives. People who experience mental health difficulties are not different or strange. We are all human, with human experiences. Mental illness and wellness are simply part of that experience. It is essential for everyone to have their individual needs met in regards to their mental health, whether they have a diagnosis or not.

Having a diagnosis of a mental health condition does not make me different. It simply means that at one point in my life I needed extra support to get by. Thankfully, I got that help and I am now supporting others to get by. I see folks making a distinction between mentally unwell people and 'normal people' all the time and this needs to change.

Mental health needs to be taken seriously, of course it does, but to act like the person is somehow separate from everyone else just makes it that much harder for that individual to ask for help.

We are all different in our own wonderful ways, but we need to remember that we all have mental health. We all go through those times when we feel sad or scared. If we have good mental resilience we can bounce back quickly, but sometimes we can't. We all need to take care of our mental health, whatever that means to us.

I wish people understood that myself and the countless others with a mental health diagnosis are not abnormal. Mental illness can and does impact everybody and this needs to be recognised.