Friday, 17 May 2013

Please Read This | Mental Health Awareness Week | 13-19th May

Hello There!

Most people don't know this but we're coming to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Mental Health Awareness Week

So I'm trying to raise awareness through my blog. And no, I don't have millions of views but hopefully if I help someone to be more aware of mental illness then I'll feel like I've achieved something. 

Until you've experienced it in your life, it's very easy to ignore mental illnesses. And it's incredible because they're literally everywhere. 1 in 4 adults experience a mental illness every year. You'll probably know someone who has a mental illness, whether you know they have one or not. It's one of the most important illnesses to be aware of because it's so common. And because there are so many different forms of mental illness:

Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Eating Disorders, Anxiety, Postnatal Depression, just to name a few.

It's so easy to overlook them and reference them casually, or as a joke.
'I'm so depressed today'
'Haha, you have such an OCD'

I hear these phrases, I say these phrases, and I know myself how easy it is to just dismiss them as a joke. A lot of the time it is just a joke - but how would you feel if the person you said it to actually was ill. Was suffering on their own, and you didn't realise.

They can be incredibly hard to spot. Eating disorders for example have physical repercussions - if someone is anorexic eventually you'll see the problem. But what happens with postnatal depression for example? What are the symptoms of that? You can't see that illness because clothes are to baggy or too tight - not that eating disorders aren't just as debilitating as any other mental illness. They all take their toll in one way or another.

It takes a lot for someone to realise that they have a mental illness, let alone their friends and family realise if they don't have very obvious symptoms - most people with a disorder shy away from their friends and family, and don't want to face it themselves, let alone anyone else notice it.

Most people just live with their mental illnesses, for all sorts of reasons. And it is never a good thing to suffer in silence, never healthy. There's the stigma to consider - will people treat me differently? Will it be harder for me to get a job? That's the whole point of the awareness week. Getting people to realise that it is a serious illness, and needs to be treated, even if that is just having someone to talk to. If someone had cancer you'd expect them to get treatment - why is a mental illness any different?

Mental Health Awareness Week

The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is 'Physical Activity and Wellbeing'. It's encouraging people to get active so that they have good mental health. Even if you're not ill, exercise is one of the best things for your mental health. Just like chocolate, exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. So instead of that chocolate bar, go for a walk, take in the countryside or the city life that's around you and keep yourself healthy

The final thing that I want to leave you with is some advice. If you know or suspect that someone has a mental illness, please don't avoid them. It will be the most important time for you to be a rock as a friend or family member. Even if they don't show that they want you to be around, don't take it personally, it's the illness talking. I know that's the hardest part for an outsider, but deep down they're just hurting and they love you really.

If you suspect that you have a mental illness, I suggest visiting your GP, telling your friends, getting away from isolation - make sure that you keep talking to people even if it's through Skype or a mental health forum. (I am not medically trained, this is what I would do).

Thanks for listening.

Ciao for now, G x

1 comment:

Maybe Its Megan Leigh said...

Great post Hun, most are afraid to talk about this subject.
Megan xx

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