Today is World Mental Health Day. This is a brilliant chance to talk about mental health, to end the stigma and make sure that no one feels isolated or on their own.
Time to change – the campaign to end mental health discrimination wants no one to feel ashamed to talk about mental health. Well I do. I am lucky to enough to to have never experienced any stigma from anyone else – the stigma is just from myself.
- I’m ashamed of myself and my mental health problems.
- They make me weak.
- I keep them a secret.
- People ask me how I am and I say fine or okay.
- What do I have to be sad or anxious about?
- I *should* be able to live without being tired, without being anxious. I should be able to go to work, to go to some exercise classes and have nice evenings. I should be able to have fun, social weekends rather than naps and tears.
I’ve been working on this recently. The stigma that I hold against myself. My counsellor that I was seeing made me realise that this tension between my public facing, happy, focused, confident Lauren vs the sometimes tired, sad, anxious, low self esteem Lauren exasperates the problem. That hiding the way I feel makes it worse, not better. That I need to be kinder to myself. To recognise my feelings and share them with others. So far, this blog has been my way of doing that. But it’s been sort of anonymously online. Now I’m trying to let more people in, be more honest with my friends about how I feel and tell people why I raised money for Mind.
So what am I saying? Regardless of where the stigma comes from, we need to talk. This will help yourself and it will also help other people. Let’s end the stigma.