When I created my mental health blog it was called This Is What A Person With Mental Illness Looks Like. My main focus was (and still is) to show pictures (and share stories) of different people, genders, ages, races and backgrounds that all have something in common – they all struggle (or have struggled) with mental health issues.
But, oh wait! You can’t always TELL from smiley profile pictures?! And that’s the whole point.That’s why there is still so much stigma around mental health. YOU CAN’T SEE IT. But, does that make someone else’s struggles easier? Certainly not!
We go through our lives thinking that everyone around us copes well alll of the time. Maybe that’s because we don’t talk about those things but we judge, compare and live in our own heads a lot more than communicate with each other. Or, maybe because we expect ourselves to be okay all of the time, which in reality that’s actually quite impossible way to be.
Either way, mental health issues don’t have a certain look. Your suffering isn’t any less valid because you don’t always look like the picture on the left – I don’t either.
Anxiety has so many different symptoms. For someone who’s struggled with agoraphobia for years, in the picture on the right I was actually a lot more anxious than in the one on the left. There might have been more visible discomfort there, but on the other hand majority of anxiety / panic attacks aren’t actually visible! You can have crippling anxiety and unless someone knows you really well, they probably won’t have an idea what you’re feeling.
Invisible illnesses are real and they shouldn’t be taken lighter than physical health. If you broke your leg you wouldn’t be put on a six months+ waiting list to see a professional. So, why is it ‘okay’ for people who struggle with mental health to be put on never ending waiting lists with zero support!?
If you are struggling right now, I just want you to remember that you are not alone. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. If it’s not you, you’re most likely know someone who has experienced it.
That’s why it’s soooo important to talk about mental health. Your mental health is just as IMPORTANT as your physical health (if not more), so please take good care of it.