I have been reflecting a lot over the last few weeks on why I started my blogging about mental health.
Absolutely one of the triggers for me was my experience last year, following the diagnosis of PTSD and the response I had from people when I “came out” about my illness.
But let’s face it my motivation runs much deeper than that. The real route of my passion for raising awareness about all things mental health is the sheer impact it has had over every step of my life.
I have experienced first hand, it tear through a family like fire on oil, I have watched it destroy lives, relationships and futures. I have seen people hide behind it, like it is something totally out of their control. I have listened to people use it an excuse to absolve decisions so inhuman that if you were measure a person solely in those moments you would fail to see any humanity at tall. (Luckily we are a measure of all our moments, not just the mistakes of which I have many.)
And what I really want to say is yes mental health is complex and yes some of the variables are out of your control, but there is so much in your control that you can’t use it as an excuse for letting down family and friends, you can’t hide behind it as a reason to justify cruel sickening acts. You can’t winge and moan about how hard it is and roll over and do nothing. Ultimately you can decide how you react.
Your mental health is yours to own and no one else’s. If you are struggling with your mental health and you can’t list on more than one hand all the things you did this week to try and improve it then what are you expecting? And when I say improve I mean improve, not the ways you cope, not the ways you get through that panic attack or the ways you try to get back to sleep. What are you doing to prevent the panic attack to improve the sleep? What are you doing to own something important, so fundamental in your happiness.
I get frustrated when I hear people talk about the things the world is doing to them in a way that is meant to justify their behaviour. Work might be hard, family might be difficult, your circumstances could be scary, dehumanising and dangerous. What are you doing about it, what are you doing to effect a change?
I’ve been there, I’ve been physically, sexual and emotionally abused. I have been bullied in the extreme. I have been discriminated against and looked down on. I have been let down, heart broken and disowned. I have been taken away from family and I have been thrust into another home. I have been forgotten about and left behind. I have lived in a situation where my life was under constant threat. Driven to trying to sleep sat up back against my bedroom door, in fear that if I didn’t my sister and I wouldn’t make through the night.
In some ways I suppose I am lucky I can always remind myself however hard things get that I might not have been alive today. Though for those that I see waste their lives in misery it makes me angry that they take for granted the days they have and the short distinct opportunity they have to find happiness, yet they chose, that’s right decide to do nothing to succumb.
I haven’t given up, somewhere way back when and I can’t even recall exactly the moment, I decided that would not be my life. I decided I would find happiness, I decided I would fight for my right to be happy. I opted to push back against the voices in my head and the world that enveloped me. And even now when the darkness tries to pull me down I fight. And when the darkness is a distant threat I sharpen my sword and reinforce my shield, I prepare myself for the strength to fight again.
Mental health is something you can improve, are you doing everything you can to improve yours?