First things first, I know, I know, the Mental Health Round-up went a bit AWOL there for a few months, didn’t it? I can only offer this post as my reason – Circles – and leave it there. Blogging’s taken a back seat now, as I attempt to work out how to properly deal with Stuff rather than burying my head in word counts, emails and the bajillion of other distractions I find online.
Enough of that anyway, I’ve got much more important things to cover in this post. It’s officially autumn! And while this means there’s a whole smorgasbord of stress looming over us, the C word specifically, some good stuff is happening, right? What about that extra hour of sleep, eh? Oh. You’re still looking for it too? Yeah. Same.
The entirety of the internet and their Twitter BFFs might have you believe that the main event of autumn is crunchy leaves, or digging out their battered but beloved Ugg boots, or the Red Cups finally being released. However, a substantial number of us (around 7% of the UK population) suffer with seasonal affective disorder to some degree (or SAD, the somewhat patronising Winter Blues, whatever ya wanna call it, etc). I read this post from Steph at I’m Counting UFOs – Having SAD is Terrible with tears in my eyes. She describes the excruciatingly heavy, dull, aching depression that the lack of sunshine brings perfectly. The unyielding desire to curl up and hibernate through the darkness and wake up in the spring is nothing short of crippling.
Another post that hit me like a tonne of bricks was from Hollybobbs – Living with Invisible Illness. My own partner suffers with moderate to severe ME, and while it’s a physical illness rather than a mental one, there can be huge ramifications on someone’s mental health whilst dealing with an invisible, debilitating disease. The alienation, the constant misunderstanding, the stigma, endlessly fighting for the correct help when you’re at your weakest and most vulnerable, is what anyone with an invisible illness – be it mental, physical or indeed both – deal with every single day. I can only hope that the less we hide these illnesses, the more we talk, and write and make general noise about what we live with, the slightly easier it’ll eventually get.
October 10th marked World Mental Health Day, to boost recognition for the whole spectrum of often confused, often dismissed mental illnesses millions of us live with. Cake Photos Life wrote this obviously personally difficult post – World Mental Health Day 2014 – detailing how she feels about her own mental health plus advice on what has worked for her to get through it.
On the same topic, Random Thoughts of a Twenty Something also wrote a brave, eloquent post entitled World Mental Health Day. She writes openly about being diagnosed with having Bipolar Disorder type 2 back in 2008 – a vastly discriminated and misunderstood illness – and how she eventually came to terms which such a huge diagnosis. I find this post so powerful and important, in a time when the term bi-polar is bandied around so casually and thoughtlessly when people mean no more than feeling a bit up and down and have no real grasp of the serious, life-altering illness itself.
For a bit of juxtaposition, from someone being diagnosed with bi-polar for several years, to a new diagnosis of it. Clara Unravelled writes about the morning of her assessment, the big one, in Swings and Roundabouts. She explains the overnight shift from paralysing depression to something a little lighter, more hopeful, good even and the realisation that this could be something more than it seems.
Something very close to home that I read was by Single Mother Ahoy! in Why I Spoke About My Breakdown. Having recently been on daytime, national TV to discuss her breakdown and as a result having many friends, family and complete strangers quietly coming out of the shadows to admit to her that they too had suffered the same. Vicky writes candidly and openly about something we fear and shy away from, because for many, it’s just too big and scary for us to admit that it’s real. Please give it a read, even if you’ve not felt suicidal or had a breakdown yourself, it’s a subject we need to accept is real and at the very least try to understand.
Again, with the taboo subjects, something we don’t like to talk about or recognise is loneliness. Kip Hakes writes frankly in his post I Sit in Starbucks Because I’m Lonely about just how sitting somewhere in public yet being totally anonymous is preferable to being home alone in deafening silence. About how others might even envy his lack of noise, distraction and company but it’s just so desperately lonely.
To end, I thought I’d illustrate just how severe and irrational some triggers can be, so I wanted to include this post from Gym Bunny Mummy – Be-you-tiful. How a cheeky, spontaneous photo can set our self-confidence, body image and self esteem into a total tail-spin and our moods nosedive into complete despair and self-loathing. I really don’t think I’ll be alone in nodding along and thinking, “Oh wow, me too,” after reading this and realising how much it takes to climb out of that black hole and start again.
That’s it for the October / sort of November round-up. I’ll be back again at the end of the month or the start of December with another. If you have a post you think is relevant, you can grab me on Twitter or send me an email at [email protected]