I was scrolling through IG last night (btw you should not be on your screens before bed kids) and I came across a post by actor Grant Gustin (from CW’s The Flash), where a few of his friends had designed these t-shirts with “I Don’t Mind” on the front in order to create dialogue on mental health and I’m assuming to raise money for the cause.
As I sat on my bed trying to count the number of times that I myself had uttered the words “I Don’t Mind”, I was shocked to relive the times I had just bottled things up (still sometimes do), the friends I knew who were depressed but we never really sat down and talked about the scars on their wrists or the housemate I had at uni who was suicidal. It’s so easy to go through life and just be hopeful that it will all eventually be okay for that person, or to just keep it to yourself in order to not burden anyone.
If it were revealed to you, the number of people you know who are going through things, you would forever more check-in on the ones you care about. You would be kinder to a stranger. You would ultimately be more empathetic and forgiving.
From depression to anxiety, from self-harm to eating disorders. Personally, as someone who has spent years wrapped up in studying, researching and advocating for the health of people, as well as having gone through the motions myself, this to me is normal. Mental health issues don’t make me cringe or alarm me because the chemical balances of our brain and bodies are so sensitive that we can all be that person but society really doesn’t take the time to educate us throughly and normalise it.
Mental health carries a stigma universally, whether we dismiss someone as just being crazy or say that they need religious intervention and prayer, and I am a person who believes in the power of prayer but I am also a person of science. We need realistic balanced perspectives. Unfortunately for the ones suffering, speaking about it is never their first line of action. The reactions that some people get when they mention therapy doesn’t even make sense.
How is it that seeking professional help for your mental wellbeing is such a double edged sword? This is a form of self-care that many people want brush off. You want me to be at 100 to be there for you, but when I want to get to a 100 to be there for myself that’s a problem. It takes a self-aware, confident and informed person to be like “You know what I need help and there is no shame in that”.
Yes, I had to put in the definition of shame because none of it has anything to do with anyone seeking out help to improve their mental health. Looking to heal is never regrettable or unfortunate, and if anything you will gain respect for doing one of the hardest things that any of us will ever face and that is admitting that something is wrong, which is no easy feat.
One thing that I have always hated about people is that many have all of these baseless, unwarranted, out of order opinions about things that they (1) know nothing about and (2) is none of their business. So trust me when I tell you this, people are fickle and their attention spans are minimal, yes people may have things to say about your life, but it doesn’t last and through your journey of healing you will find that it doesn’t matter anyway because you’re the only person that does.
So yes mental health is real. Yes, people may look at you different, but not because you’re crazy, rather they are ignorant. Yes, you should speak about the cloud that fogs up your mind, the pressure that crushes your insides and the pain that is shredding you apart. By voicing it, you are no longer its victim, you stop suffering in silence and you are no longer alone. For some it may even give you perspective on the aspects of your life that trigger you. For others it may bring closure or even give strength to someone else going through it.
Everything is not fine sometimes (for everyone), and that is okay. So let’s talk about it.