Today is World Mental Health day.
Scrap that, it was yesterday! I was about to post when it hit me. Why so we only have a single day to talk about it? So, I’m publishing this now and sue me if you disagree…
Back to yesterday … I knew that when I turned on the TV, I wouldn’t hear about it. Unless someone with a mental illness starts killing people again, mental health won’t make the news. This is terribly sad and I am absolutely outraged by it. But today is not a day to be mad. Today is a self-care day. Today is a day to hold out your hand to someone and make sure you lend an ear to whoever needs it.
To hell with TV and their awful programs about what we are supposed to feel and live. There are other ways to raise awareness and help each other. We talk a lot about the effects of social media. Well, one positive side I want to focus on is that those platforms have given me a voice.
I want to shout out loud what I have experienced. I want to shout that there is no shame in suffering from any mental health issue. I want to let everyone know there is a path. Okay, it’s winding, difficult, sometimes dark, but it’s a path that leads to brighter days through the fog of those endless shadowy and horrendous hours when your mind tells you that life can be reduced to only what you’re experiencing now, that you will never be looking at the sun with a smile on your face ever again, that you’ll always be the woman (or guy) in the background with hair in your face and a cringe because of the cold.
Mental illnesses lie. They put a veil on everything you see, touch, taste, smell. They build a wall between you and the world. We can help destroy it. You are not alone.
Now where does all this wisdom come from? Who am I to talk about this subject? Here is something I would not had had the courage to do three years ago.
My name is Meggy. (You’re supposed to say ‘Hi Meggy!’) I suffer from a General Anxiety Disorder, mild depression (whatever doctors mean by mild!), social anxiety and agoraphobia.
If you’re following this blog or if you have checked my Twitter or Facebook account, you might not believe it. I was at Bloody Scotland a couple of weeks ago! I had a one-day trip to London a week earlier. I work at a bookstore. I’m going to a French literary festival this weekend.
It is not written on my face. It’s not in the way I move. It’s not at the corner of my eyes when I smile.
The problem is, one thing you can do today might be impossible tomorrow. I might be at the top of my league for a month and then something happens or someone tells me something and I fall back down into my pit faster than it takes a Scottish man to gulp down a beer.
One thing to remember is to not judge. You are not in my shoes (I never lend them!) You are not in my position. I don’t want you to be. I am only expecting an open-mind.
And you know what? It’s okay not to be okay. Why should I be ashamed?
Let me tell you a secret.
These days, my social anxiety is the strongest. I fear people are leaving me, I fear I am not good enough to be part of this blogging community. I am afraid to bother people when I message them. I feel like no one wants to talk to me.
I haven’t told anyone. But today is the day I share. Because my last Instagram picture was a smiling face, but it’s just a moment in a day. I try hard to hold on to those moments but at times it’s simply not enough. I might cry or feel awful. But it’ll pass. I smash those bad times by being as happy as possible when the demons are quiet.
I hope each and every one of us can find more happy moments than bad ones. I want you to not be disappointed in yourself when there is something you can’t do. I don’t want you to tell yourself you are worthless.
You are not.
You are a warrior. You fight and deal with crap that your brain tries to feed you with. Mental illness doesn’t define you, even if it messes with the way you live, the way you interact with people. You are so much more than an illness. You are a person with a lot to offer.
People might see me as vulnerable, a sweet thing to take care of. I laugh at their face. I am strong. I’m a Buffy with vampires in my head! I have won more battles than they can even imagine. They don’t need to know, and I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. I smile and go my way.
Should it prevent me from getting my dream job? NO WAY. Let’s be more open-minded, more observant, and more tolerant. Let’s say ‘it’s okay to talk about it.’ Let’s just be there and share the strength and love.
They keep telling us we need to exercise to stay fit and have a good physical health. Well, it’s the same for mental health. It takes time, effort, sweat, practice, but we can change things, we can stop the blindness and taboos, we can kick ass.
Mental health is important. Take care of yourself. Take care of those around you.