There are sometimes moments in life that fill you with pride and make you feel as though you are actually, maybe, helping to make a difference, I had one of these moments just before Christmas when I received a message from my website telling me that I had been mentioned in someones blog. I was delighted that someone deemed me worthy of a mention but when I read the blog I was even more amazed!
A gentleman called Mike Veny who is one of the top mental health speakers in the USA had cited me as being one of the top 5 mental health speakers in the UK, amongst the others were Tanya Byron, Eleanor Longdon and Ruby Wax! To be placed alongside people like this is an accolade indeed and I can’t begin to describe how humbled and, at the same time, proud I felt that the message I try to share is actually reaching people.
….and sometimes it feels as thought it is!
The agony of depression….
Ruby Wax is very open about experiencing depression, you know, the real one, the one where you feel as though you’re staring into an abyss and someone has stolen the future from you. The one where the simple act of getting out of bed and facing the day is impossible and yet the shame and fear of what people will think of you (being lazy is a common assumption) forces you to somehow, agonisingly, inch your way out of the security of the duvet to the relative security of the sofa. Even switching the TV on is an impossibility, and even if you could, you wouldn’t manage to be able to watch anything anyway, the words blur into white noise, your brain incapable of discerning the words.
Personal hygiene becomes a feat tantamount to climbing Everest every day and the thought of sorting washing and putting it into the machine is totally beyond you. And people………struggling to be around even your closest friends and family, however supportive they are, engenders a feeling of the worst type of guilt, and the endless soul-searching to try to find out why you can’t just feel normal and get on with your life.
High profile celebrities being honest about their challenges can give all of us hope and help to raise awareness that anyone can be struck down at any time…..
I’m so grateful to Ruby Wax for her openness, and Frank Bruno, and Catherine Zeta Jones and all of the other high-profile celebrities who are brave enough to come out and speak about this unmentionable illness that shows no physical symptoms, and therefore, unless you’ve experienced it, can appear to have more do with your attitude than an actual illness.
These illnesses are very real
But, it is an illness, just the same as someone with heart problems needs medical help, so people with depression and other mental health struggles need help, and medication can help. I take my Citalopram religiously, I know I need it in order to be able to live some semblance of a normal life and I have good phases and bad phases. Times when I feel as though life is a possibility and someone has turned the proverbial ‘light’ back on and times when the future no longer exists and there seems little point in trying to find it. My husband succumbed to the belief that life was no longer worth living and so did Robin Williams, could they both have been saved if there was better understanding and less stigma attached to this condition?
I could go on for hours about the changes we need in the mental health sector in this country, and my ideas about how these changes could be implemented, but that’s for another time maybe, I don’t want to bore you! But, for now, if you don’t struggle with any mental health issues, maybe you could just accept that it’s very real, very frightening and potentially deadly? Pulling oneself together just isn’t an option and from all of us who struggle….we apologise. Please, just sit with us, cuddle us if we can tolerate the contact, make us a cup of tea, text us to let us know we’re in your thoughts and be patient with us. In time we’ll be back and ready to play the game of life again, we just need your understanding………http://www.transformingstigma.com/mental-health-speakers-uk.html