No Shame

Please don’t be ashamed of your mental health. I’m not suggesting you stand up and shout it from the roof tops, but at the same time don’t be ashamed of it.

I’ve already shared with you my high school experience of desperately trying to fit into a group but never quite achieving it. Well now for the first time in my life I actually belong to a club and it’s a big one! Its called the I have a mental health illness club, At least one in four of us are in it but for some reason it doesn’t feel like that bigger club. Every things hush-hush, people don’t want to admit there part of it. Sure there’s lots of great support groups out there but the majority of people are still hiding. I appreciate that this is completely their choice and there might be other reasons for this, such as them struggling to accept the’re ill in the first place(I know it took me a while!). But if the reason is down to shame, why be ashamed of being in the biggest club in the world?

messing around in the river

Yesterday I enjoyed a countryside walk with a friend. we came across these two above enjoying a cool drink.

we encountered much more animals than people. My kind of walk!

Compared to other conditions

A friend of mine has type two diabetes and is insulin dependant. she has to inject herself every morning and her insulin needs to be stored in a fridge. This is a very important issue when traveling long distance or going on holidays. Due to her condition she has to be extremely careful with her diet and has certain limitations. She needs to do regular gentle exercise but over exertion can be harmful. She manages her condition very well, part of this involves refusing to do activities that may be detrimental to her health. She has no problem explaining that her Diabetes is the reason for this.

My mother is registered disabled due to chronic back problems, caused by an accident at work several years a go. Just like my friend, she manages her condition well and is still able to live a fulfilled life. If someone asks her to do something which is beyond her capabilities and will be a risk to her health, she has no problem refusing, giving her disability as the reason why. I think I speak for the majority of people who suffer with there mental health, when I say Its not easy for us to do the same. I find myself coming up with the most elaborate excuses imaginable, to get myself out of situations I can’t manage due to my health. Admittedly part of this is to avoid having to explain, but its mainly because I’ve felt ashamed. My mum doesn’t have to explain, she can just say “I can’t because of my bad back” so why can’t I be similarly frank about my health. After all as I said earlier, I’m in the biggest club in the world! So millions of people will understand, and for those people who don’t, how can we ever expect them too if we’re not upfront and honest about the way we’re feeling.

I wasn’t able to attend my grandmas funeral due to my anxiety issues. My immediate family know the reason for this but other friends and family were simply told I wasn’t well on the day. In truth I would never have coped in that environment, a building with only one exit, makes me feel totally trapped, not to mention all those people in such a confined space. I weighed up all the pros and cons and eventually came to the conclusion that me freaking out and having a major meltdown right in the middle of the crematorium, was not going to be very helpful to anyone! Instead I had a close friend take me to my grandmas favourite park and I was able to say goodbye to her in my own special way. We did this whilst the service was taking place.

I’m getting better at giving my mental health as a genuine reason why I can’t do certain things but I accept I still have a way to go. Its not easy but when you start sharing you realise there’s so many people just like you, suddenly you feel less alienated and you might even make them feel better too! Remember showing vulnerability is not a weakness, other people will gain strength from your courage in coming forward.