It's never easy telling someone about your mental health. It's never easy trying to explain the heavy feeling in your chest, the lack of motivation you have, the heavy head and whirlwind of sad thoughts constantly sitting in the back of your head.
Mental health is something that is not discussed within my family at all. It is a taboo subject that isn't even thought about. I was having a conversation with my Dad before and he said; 'depression isn't real. Everyone just doesn't talk about their problems anymore so they're sad'. It broke me to hear that because my problem was depression and I did want to talk about it! I don't know if it was a cultural thing, treating mental health as a taboo subject, or if it was a generational thing but it hurt so much knowing this was something I thought I was going to go through on my own.
Telling friends or ex boyfriends was also difficult. They were supportive but I felt like a burden to them. They never quite understood it either. Self-harm was a mystery to them and suicidal thoughts were not even a part of their dictionary. Their reaction was more confusion regarding mental health and that's just because they didn't get it. Nobody spoke about it so there was no reason for them to understand.
Past boyfriends would act aggressive saying; 'if you hurt yourself, I’ll do it to myself too' or 'I'm trying to make you better, you're not helping yourself'. These words of anger were not the way to handle things. I don't know if it was anger towards me, towards the illness or just because they didn't understand. Nobody wants to see someone they care about ill. I can understand the anger but it was not the reaction I craved.
It's always difficult opening up about mental health. Being at university and coming out about my depression and anxiety and admitting I was ill was one of the hardest things I've done to date. My flatmates understand but at the same time they don't. My boyfriend understands but at the same time he doesn't. It's difficult talking about it because how are people going to react? Will they judge you or will they understand?
Maybe if I spoke about this when I was 15, then I wouldn’t have struggled so much. If I had spoken about how I was feeling then maybe I wouldn’t have relapsed with self-harm so many times. Maybe I wouldn’t now be on anti-depressants and waiting for counselling. Maybe I would be a completely different person. But I didn’t talk about my mental health. I thought of it just as much of a taboo subject as everyone else did and I thought it was my problem that I had to face on my own.
Five years later that is not the case at all. It is okay to talk about things and it’s okay to admit when you need someone to just listen. I've found that more people discuss their mental health so openly and it is the most refreshing thing to see. It is healthy. It needs to be done.
Mental health isn't a taboo subject. It's the demon many people fight with every day. It's something that needs so much more attention, care and time. It is something that needs to be spoken about and it needs to be spoken about now.