Do these words make you cringe?
Do they make you scoff and roll your eyes?
Do you resonate with them?
Are they familiar in your world or completely alien?
In light of the recent tragedies unfolding in the news with celebrities and well known figures taking their lives I’ve seen a large number of people, just on my own social media pages, expressing their concern and encouraging others to reach out, to ask for help and giving reassurance they are not alone.
It makes my heart swell with a bittersweet happiness to know that so many people are expressing their care and love with a willingness to support individuals who are struggling.
But I write this post with the most gentle of reminders; living with a mental illness is, most of the time, a scary and isolating place. You can receive the upmost care and support from friends and family, you can be surrounded by people who love you with every ounce of their being and despite this, still feel afraid and alone.
It’s hard to reach out for help when your mind is working against you.
It’s difficult to open up out of the blue.
It’s almost impossible to believe that people want to help and listen to your struggles when your mind is telling you that no one cares.
So let’s be sure to create space for harder conversations.
Check in with colleagues and class mates who have become withdrawn.
Support friends and family.
Focus that little bit harder on your strong friends who are always there for you but brush off your voice of concern for them. Delve that little bit deeper when they try to change the subject. Don’t give up.
Ask questions and give time for answers. Have a cup of tea and a biscuit. It’s that support that’s vital, with the space/allowance for a conversation that shouldn’t be rushed.
We may not be able to stop bullies or control toxic people, but we can start the discussion, we can minimise the stigma surrounding mental illness and in turn, show people that they’re not alone.
You are not alone.