Being someone who has battled with anxiety and depression as a result of an intense roller-coaster year, I truly understand how important it is to begin shedding light up on the existence of mental health issues.
With so little conversation on the subject, and many misconceptions, the reality of living with mental health challenges is often a lonely one. In the mainstream and across social media, there has been an enormous amount of work done to spread awareness of the subject, from self-love campaigns, to mental health awareness weeks.
This coverage and dialogue is fantastic but often the very real, darker side is hidden, the side where many mental health sufferers feel shame and feel shunned by society. That side is where the most love, support and care is needed. For us to be able to do this we must be willing to understand.
Anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar and many other mental health conditions can often be dismissed and referred to as a sign of weak Iman (Faith). Some even believe that those struggling with these conditions have actively chosen to have them.
Even if it is accepted that you do have a problem it should be of the tongue, never should it manifest into any action.
Being unable to get out of bed is due to laziness; continuously crying is due overreaction; and having a panic attack is merely seeking attention. These are just a few examples of how a lack of understanding can result in people being harsh in their judgement.
The truth is there a more people struggling with mental health than you can imagine. At least one in four people living in the U.K will experience a mental health problem every year. These people come from all different backgrounds and come in all shapes and sizes. The purpose of our discussions is to educate and empower one another. The hardest thing about mental health is that often it isnt visible; in many circumstances people do not see the signs in a friend or relative who is seriously struggling until it is too late, but together we can encourage this to change.
Over the next few months I’ll be sharing stories from those who have experienced mental health difficulties and those who are helping others to overcome them. I’ll be giving you tips and advice on how to maintain your own mental health, spot the signs of someone who may need help and where you can seek support.