It’s Finally Okay to Admit You Have A Mental Illness… But Is It Okay to Show It?

1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from some kind of mental illness each year. After decades of relentless work and unmatched dedication from campaigners and advocates, it’s finally okay to admit you’re struggling with anxiety, depression or/and an eating or personality disorder. YAY!

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But sadly, I’m not quite yet ready to celebrate. Why? Because I’m not sure we’re actually accepting mental health issues for what they actually are – which is utterly unique to each person and able to creep up on us at any time, without any warning or set ‘rules’.

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I can tell you that when I’m having a bad day, I avoid people. And when I cry in front of someone, I apologise. I’m happy to tell them my issues but wouldn’t dare ‘burden’ them by showing them Marie Meltdown-Mode! From this observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that although it is no longer shocking to say you have a mental illness, it is still very much frowned-upon to actually display signs of your condition.

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Take employment legislation for example. Mental health sufferers are supposedly protected against discrimination under the Equality Act but I’ve heard more than a few horror stories that prove otherwise. Loopholes are left to be manipulated and the vulnerable are left to fight a losing battle.

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As a freelancer, I’m blessed to be in the driving seat of my life (most of the time). I can fit things around my personal circumstances without having to explain myself. I can have a panic attack and then work from bed, rather than showing myself up in an office full of workers. I can take a Skype call with a crisp white shirt on up-top and jogging bottoms down-below, and I can release my bowels to relieve IBS without feeling conscious  (yes, this shit actually happens, pardon the pun hahaha).

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The point is I’m luckier than most (note it hasn’t always been this way) and still I wish everyone understood or at least respected the truth behind living with mental health issues more. Compassion alone is something I believe could make workplace a healthier, happier environment for everyone to be. We’re so focused on ‘playing the game’ and ‘being in it to win it’ we forget to ground ourselves in the reality that we are an integral part of.

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Health is far greater than wealth. So what’s with the newspapers, magazines and celebrity bloggers shaming the likes of Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes, Selena Gomez, Zayn Malik and now Kanye West? I mean, we’ve all grieved over public figures (Tony Scott, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Robin Williams… to name just a few) who have lost their lives to drug abuse, suicide or mental health issues before… do we really want to point and laugh at those who need help and support again?

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17 thoughts on “It’s Finally Okay to Admit You Have A Mental Illness… But Is It Okay to Show It?

  1. Fly the flag, carry the banner, mental health does matter. We all are liable to suffer, sometimes from the results of earlier abuse or just ‘unlucky’ to cop some sort of mental health problem. Mental Health often can be a life time issue and just has to be managed and controlled but not unfortunately cured. Sometimes just a ‘one off’. Those not affected by these issues count your blessings.
    Care for all, even the difficult ones.

    1. Agree with everything you’ve said and love the way you’ve said it. Mental health comes in all shapes and sizes – just because we don’t always understand it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always be compassionate! x

  2. This is one of my favorite articles I’ve read. I’m just now getting used to my “problems” myself, I barely accept them, I highly doubt for the whole world too! I think it’s just a matter of time before people are accepting. I left school for my mental illness because I didn’t want people to see me as my problem rather than who I really am.

    1. It’s such a shame that we feel we have to hide what’s actually going on in our lives, but I hope it gives you faith, as it does me, to know that there are some people who are able to truly understand. Everyone has a problem of some sort – big or small, mental or physical – but that’s not what defines us/them… Thank you for sharing Kerstin. Glad you enjoyed the read. All the best xx

  3. Mental illness is an illness just like any other and it should be treated as such. If you are a sufferer you should be able to get help with about being treated like an outcast. Life is hard and the mind breaks sometimes.

  4. Thank you for liking one of my posts ! I am writing a series of posts on mental health and I am now dealing with the stigma attached to people who have mental health issues. Check them out, I think you will like what you read and feel free to give me some feedback. http://marshall326.com – MARSHALL W THOMPSON, SR P.S. You write very well. Peace, Marshall

    1. You’re welcome! I think your posts on mental health, particularly anxiety, are very interesting. Will certainly check more out and let you know what I think. Glad you like my writing style – please do stop by again 🙂 All the best, M x

  5. Kudos for writing this post. As someone who lives with a mental illness (or disorder, as I prefer it), I fully support anyone who speaks out against the stigma towards the mentally illness. The more we speak about the conditions we live with, the more people would (hopefully) understand.

    Things do get better over time, and it is important to make mental health a priority, just like physical health. Don’t let what society and the stigma against the mentally ill make you feel down about yourself. Easier said than done, I know 🙂

    1. Thank you for your support and understanding. I prefer disorder too, actually – more accurately describes what it is and also helps with that element of stigma I guess. It is indeed easier said than done, but your words of encouragement give us hope 🙂 Great comment – both my readers & I appreciate it. All the best x

  6. Great article, thanks for sharing. I slowly came out to friends over time, beginning by just telling them that I had migraines. Haha, if only they knew the whole of it. By now, only close friends and family know the extent of my illness. I found it to be quite liberating to let people know about some of my illness, especially my anxiety and depression. I think it helped them understand me better and improved our relationships. A few didn’t understand, or were afraid of me in some way. In the end, I’m glad to have told the few that I felt needed to know.

    1. Thank you! You’re welcome – it’s a pleasure to connect with those in similar positions. I’ve been incredibly open about my mental health, maybe too open… as sometimes been burned by those that simply don’t understand or have any compassion/time for it. But I always find it difficult to be so honest when it comes to work positions and prospects. As a freelancer, I never really tell my clients unless they’re extremely long-term. On a need to know basis is best for the moment, I guess…

      I certainly agree that it can improve relationships though. I couldn’t have kept some of my friendships if they hadn’t know the truth. And same with clients – there’s only so many times you can be economical with the truth. We’re all human after all. Anyway, all the best to you. Hope to see you back here again soon x

  7. This is a fantastic post! I’ve felt this way for a long time but haven’t understood I’ve felt it until I read this blog, so thank you for putting words to the thoughts.

  8. Excellent piece. Thank you for liking my personal essay on my triggered angry state btw. It really means a lot to me.

    Keep writing what needs to be written, saying what needs to be said. Your words are important to the development of us all.

    1. I’m so glad you thought so. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. You’re more than welcome for the like, I’m sure plenty more will follow. I certainly will be posting much more process driven, thought-provoking posts to raise awareness. Hope you keep it up too 🙂 I’ll be keeping an eye out! All the best to you.

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