It saddens me that people suffering from mental health problems are sometimes seen as 'selfish,' 'lazy' or in some way responsible for their own breakdown. If someone had a broken leg, you wouldn't say: 'Stop sitting around, get up, start walking, fake it till you make it - you'll be grand!' Yet when someone has a break in their mental health, they are told to pull themselves together, stop being selfish, think of their families. You can't pull out an x-ray and point to exactly where the break is; it's invisible.
It's bad enough that people people suffer such desperate emotional distress, but to experience judgement and lack of understanding from others, for people to doubt that you are ill at all... this must be very lonely and dark. It only further isolates and stigmatises someone who is already struggling. People can only be helped towards wellness and freedom if we give them hope - and practical solutions.
Mental and emotional distress is often a very secretive, hidden, shameful problem. When people are in a state of despair they cannot see a solution or a way out; they cannot see a day when things might be better. Sometimes, people may not want to die but they just don't know how to live. Instead of judging, let's accept, acknowledge, reach out. Let's offer hope - you never know who might need it.
Hope is always necessary. It's that extra inch of light that falls into the mind. It's a new story unfurling, a new set of possibilities illuminated, a series of arrows on a map that point the way out of darkness. Let's stop judging, fearing, laughing at those who struggle with mental health issues. Let's reach out and show those who feel they have no hope that it is ALWAYS there.
We'll be looking at reader's own struggles over the coming months... let's ditch the stigma on mental health issues and try to help and understand. COMMENT BELOW if you or someone close to you has suffered in this way... plus your suggestions for how to help.