The mental illness epidemic has swept the nation and stolen our personalities. Zombies walking around ignoring each other. How as people can we care about anything when the future is foggy? When our minds are blind and bruised?
Everyone has a different definition of mental health, of what it means to them and how it’s brought to their attention. Mind.org reports that one in four of the UK’s population experience mental health problems each year. That is one person in your family, one person in your small friendship group, even yourself, your best friend, your mother, your neighbour, even the guy you dislike at work because he acts out for attention (maybe there’s a reason behind that).
Depression can take our behaviours and shape them into something we don’t even recognise. We can lose our hobbies, as well as our ability to create. Not having control over our ability to complete ‘normal’ tasks causes us to put more pressure on ourselves, making us feel worse. Isn’t it funny how the same brain that is able to create you is the same one that can tear you down again?
With depression can come anxiety (although not always). Feeling scared about leaving the house or making conversation with strangers, worrying about your relationships or your job. Anxiety can cause insecurity in its wildest form. It can change your confidence and take away your ability to think and feel for yourself, causing relationships to suffer in a way you could have never believed possible. It can hold your life in its crumbling hands and cause you to crumble too.
When anxiety meets a relationship, it can also meet insecurity, causing you to question if anything is real at all. It can break your relationships before they’re fully formed. It throws you to opposite ends of the world. You could be in the same room, the same bed, but still be a thousand miles apart.
It can seem like the world is yours for a second, like everything is finally right. You’ll be walking down the street listening to your favourite song whilst thinking about the people you love when suddenly the dull feelings will creep back in, causing your head to fall. You stomp home as fast as you can, run to your room, slam the door behind you, crawl into bed and cover yourself with everything that makes you feel safe while the rain pours on your attic window, and you hope it will wash all your responsibilities away.
I have seen mental health bring aches and pains with it. It isn’t just a case of having sad thoughts or being tired, it can cause the colour to go from your face. The girl known for having a glow can be transformed into a walking illness, with constant headaches teamed with a fuzzy mind. Being unable to think straight or concentrate can affect our work greatly (something I have learnt from trying to be a writer). The tension in our bodies can cause pain – in our mouths from biting down too hard in worry, our backs and shoulders from the constant metaphorical weight. We have serotonin in our stomachs, therefore if serotonin is low our stomachs’ ability to work, is reduced, causing pains or problems. Our body reflects our mind, if we tell it we aren’t happy today, our body will probably (definitely) show it.
It can be impossible to know how to deal with these feelings. To know how to speak about these feelings. The truth is, it is hard. Life is fucking hard, and it’s very important to feel everything and nothing and everything again. You might believe you feel everything too deeply and punish yourself for it (like me) but isn’t it better to live and to feel every fibre of every bit of your being? At the end of it all, you can say you got through it. There’s nothing better than making it through.
Bad mental health can mean one day you could be screaming on a bathroom floor telling your best friend you want to die, but months later you could be driving along in the passenger seat of her car and screaming joyfully with the same voice. You’ll be loudly singing along to a song you both claim to hate (love) and at that moment you will be so happy. The sun is setting, and you feel loved. As many lyricists have said over the years “love is all you need.”
Those moments are when the suffering sometimes seems worth it. Not that I am saying mental health is worth the pain, but it can definitely make you appreciate the small things. It will teach you to learn people’s mannerisms, to notice the way they smile and how they talk because you care so much that they stayed in your life even when you weren’t yourself.
For more information on World Mental Health Day, please visit their website here.
If you need help, here are various services available.