Have you ever had one of those surreal conversations where - when you have finished it you still don't understand the beginning bit???
I had one of those last night with one of my friends. (I know - I know - I am usually the culprit for starting a conversation like that, but, in this case, I was not responsible.)
It all started when a very close friend of mine expressed astonishment about what a mutual close friend of ours said to them.
I was left with the impression that a tshirt was expected to be worn stating the exact Mental Health issues that someone has to deal with each day. How else are we supposed to know about the exact state of someone else's Mental Health??? Maybe we should begin to introduce ourselves to each other by stating our name and any Mental Health issues we may have??? (Someone actually did that to me once and - once I had got over the shock - I actually felt comfortable with them because I knew I could ask them questions about it and educate myself on the subject.)
Obviously, in most cases, if the Mental Health issue starts to become visible (as in people start to display signs of it) there is something drastically wrong.
However, that is not what I meant by wanting Mental Health issues to be more visible.
What I actually meant was that I feel we should be more open in talking about them. I know it is not easy because of the stigma and misinformation associated with things like Schizophrenia, etc, and the bad press faced by people with Bipolar and Depression. If we could talk about it in the same way as people have started to announce things I would consider to be private information - ie, sexual orientation (honestly, it is none of my business who you choose to have sex with as long as they are over the age of consent and a willing partner - or - if - in the unlikely event - it is me) - we would be a lot better off.
Leaflets and websites can only go so far in telling you about how different Mental Health Issues affect different people - we are not all the same.
I have the honour (and humbling privilege) of being allowed to support someone with a Mental Health issue - it is still ongoing - and I am reminded every day that I cannot take that person for granted or the fact they have let me into their private world.
We just need to be more open and accepting about such a difficult topic - I honestly hope that we reach a stage where Mental Health issues are treated in the same way as physical illness.
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