“1 in 5 people have dandruff. 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem. I’ve had both.” Ruby Wax
Oh wow she’s got it all…. the perfect boyfriend, 2 cute dogs a house that could come straight out of a magazine and a body to die for and to top it all of she always looks like she’s having the best time on her social media. You may have had those same thoughts (like we all do) when looking at Sophie Gradon’s Instagram 6 weeks ago and then you hear the tragic news that the troubles inside her head were making it too hard for her to feel like she could carry on. With a click of a finger another precious, vulnerable soul lost to the world of mental health and millions of people relating to the story and wondering that it might be them or someone close to them. This week her partner took his own life too. This year there have been a stream of high profile suicides from Fashion designers to chefs, wonderfully talented people who shone from the inside out and their creativity and talent appeared to know no bounds, but with many people fighting their own destructive battle.
It’s really hard when you try and put yourself in someone’s position who has suicidal thoughts. I struggle with my mood and my feelings, but I’ve never been able to imagine the torture and thought process people go through which ends up with the only viable option being to take their own life.
The way the world is going and the lack of awareness has got the group chat upset and angry. How have we got ourselves into this dire state and what are we going to do to fix it…. is it beyond fixing?
It’s been an age old argument that the media thrive on slating and undermining women (and men) for the way they look or present themselves in general. Imagine being famous and picking up this weeks glossy mag and you are strewn all over the front cover in a bikini headline “beached whale spotted in Marbella”. I go through every day questioning how I look, prodding and picking holes in myself, imagine being in the spotlight, the whole world being able to judge you on the way you look.
Many people make a choice to be in the public eye, have their 5 minutes of fame, but when people make that decision you can’t go back. You can’t suddenly dip out if and when it’s affecting your mental health and you feel you can’t cope, you are out there, you are a celebrity.
I read an article in Cosmo a month or so ago (which I now annoyingly can’t find) based on reality stars and how much they regret their decision to open themselves up to the world. Zara from love island 2016 was stripped of her Miss Britain title and said the shame and upset she felt was disastrous. The people feautured practically said becoming a slave to reality TV has ruined their life and it was a mistake they wish they’d have never made. Of course you get the success stories, Mark Wright, living it up in LA and married to Michelle Keegan. Sam Faiers who has used her fame to build a brand and make it successful. However you never know what goes on behind closed doors, success doesn’t equal happiness, success doesn’t equal people liking you.
Without the world of social media and reality tv we would still have people and now I’m not suggest we get rid of them but there needs to be a change in culture, a change of awareness so people aren’t awful and shitty any more and at least try to understand what people are going through.
People get behind a keyboard and suddenly think they have the God given right to write whatever they wish about a celebrity or anyone for that matter. How hard is it when you receive one mean comment, imagine that day in and day out when all you’re trying to do is live your life and make a living. Is it jealously? Is it boredom? Is it ignorance? Or are people just mean because whatever it is, it’s unacceptable and it’s not enough. On this year’s love Island Megan is least favourite and she is not my cuppa tea, but I would never send her rude or threatening tweets because not only is it bullying it is unnecessary and you never know how that is going to affect somebody.
Every time you bat someone down who’s fighting a battle (which we all are) you’re making it that bit harder for them to rise up again, you did that to them and there’s really no need is there?
You are here to live your life and not make other people’s lives difficult. Concentrate on you and people you love and cherish. Concentrate on how to enrich your own life and enjoy life experiences rather then bringing down others.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO
We need to get rid of the Mental Health stigma
who has felt like they can’t get into work one day because all they want to do is cry all day (for no particular reason) and struggle to even lift their head off the pillow? Who then dragged their sorry arse into work because you couldn’t possibly call in sick for something like that? You’ve subsequently not been able to focus or concentrate on your job, you may have been distant to colleagues or snappy or rude to customer. You may have had to take yourself to the toilet once or 54 times to have a little weep and then go back to your desk and pretend that everything is ok, because that’s what your supposed to do right? Pretend everything is ok. That needs to change.
I work with people suffering from mental health conditions and have been on so many training courses, but as far as I am aware other people within the business I work for don’t get mental health training. This should be standard this should be something companies want to offer to understand themselves, their families, friends and their colleagues, because if people aren’t given the knowledge how can they understand, how can they know what to say or do. Ever rolled your eyes when you hear someone is off sick with depression or stress? It’s a natural reaction because unfortunately in this life you’ll always get a Sandra sickie who has every other week off because she stubbed her toe and that makes you cynical. If people are empowered with knowledge it takes away that judgement and is replaced with understanding, surely people want to understand and learn and be a better person?
We need to educate and invest in our future generations and our current generations too
Cara over at https://rainybayblog.com/ summed it up perfectly with this tweet “We don’t need thoughts, or wishes, or RIP’s. We need fully funded mental health services, trained mental health nurses & GP’s who have the training & time to listen when people need support. What’s the point of speaking out if there is no one there to hear?” and sweet Jesus everything I’ve been bumbling about above makes perfect sense with this perfectly written tweet.
For example this financial year Norfolk County Council reduced their funding in Support services by almost £6million (£5.8mil to be precise). This resulted in a cut in supported housing for vulnerable people. It also resulted in the 2 mental health support services losing all of their funding = no mental health services for people suffering with their mental health in Norfolk. This leaves people with one route, the health service and they are not educated enough or have the time to assist people hopelessly crying out for help. I can’t speak for other counties by why is an area of support that is so desperately needed being so drastically cut.
What Every Tom, Dick and Harry can do and every Tina, Delilah and Harriet can do too
I’m not a mental health professional and would never claim to be, neither am I am expert in mental health, but here’s a few things I’ve learnt along the way and things that have helped me when I have been in that place.
Be present, if you don’t feel you if every day feels like a struggle then speak to someone, speak to friends or family, someone you trust or a healthcare professional. It is hard if they don’t understand or listen the first time, but you have to keep going back, unfortunately right now it is the only way. If that’s too hard then invest time into you, self care days, going out for a walk or run, taking in your surroundings and appreciating nature and this wonderful life we get to be a part of. Start a gratitude diary and write every little thing down that makes it all seem worthwhile.
Be aware of your friends, family and colleagues, you know them better than anyone else. If someone doesn’t seem ok, ask them, “are you okay, really okay.” They will say yes, of course but if you know they’re not okay, keep checking in, be a friend. Make them a cup of tea or write them a post-it note to make them smile. Buy them a bunch of those £2.09 roses from Aldi that I adore so dearly, cook them dinner or take them out of the office for a walk. Remember that we are all accountable and we would want someone to show compassion if we were in the same situation.
It’s a tricky, fucked up world out there, but let’s try and make it a bit easier for one another, we are all humans after all…. warts and all.
Ps. Big up to my Sezzy for *helping me* read as coming up with the title for this post.