So around it comes again, time to talk day. As a youth worker, I deal with and talk about mental health issues all the time.
I am also open about my own mental health, having suffered five major depressive episodes in my life, and now, permanently on antidepressants.
Really, you are supposed to talk to people face to face today, but to talk in depth would feel too exposed for me, so here it is in a blog post.
The medication and my own self care, which includes prayer, mindfulness, healthy eating, regular dog walking and sleep (as much as a new mum ever gets) keeps me well.
But there in lies the thing.
I have found that talking about mental health, people tend to see it as “my thing” as in, they don’t mind me being passionate about the subject, and will listen to me talk about it… But that’s as far as it goes. People generally, I find, don’t really want to take action.
Secondly, people are great when you have a crisis. So five, nearly six years ago, when I was too depressed even to leave the house, people were very kind to me.
But when it comes to living with clinical depression, if you are well enough to work, and you look cheerful, people forget you have a chronic illness.
No one sees how much effort, how much energy it takes, just to be normal.
If I slip at all with my self care, particularly at this time of year (between December and March), I would become unwell.
And I see other people able to do so much in their lives and I think of all the things I could fit in my life if I were mentally strong enough… But I’m not.
Keeping the discipline of a balanced life is what keeps me well enough to work and to take care of my son properly.
Its so hard, actually. You don’t get medals for ordinary, even when it takes extraordinary effort to get there. People don’t realise that their starting point is my mid point.
So next time you see people being ordinary, remember, for some of us, that, in itself, is a daily achievement.