November 11, 2015

Everyone has bad days, where they feel the world is against them or they are down on luck.Lauren's blog For people with mental health issues, it can be an excruciating and exhausting experience. Daily life is enough of a struggle for us to cope with without additional pressures that poor mental health can bring. Having to deal with the hardships that are part of our lives is bad enough, but the added stress of fighting through some of the toughest days of our illnesses can become overwhelming.

Small things can make a difference to anyone when they are not feeling themselves

However, when you’re feeling down, it doesn’t always take winning the lottery to turn your day around does it? It’s the #SmallThings in life that we so often take for granted! That passing compliment on a new outfit, a warm hug from a friend or being praised for something you have accomplished, no matter how insignificant it seems. These small things can make a difference to anyone when they are not feeling themselves, even more so for people with mental health difficulties.

When I’m in that dark place and all I see is the world against me, a small message turns my whole day around

From a personal point of view; I am very open about what I have. I keep no secrets about my condition. If anyone asks, I am more than willing to tell them. By being this way I have found the true friends and family who stick by me. They accept everything, from the small quirks to understanding the way I react and being able to deal with curve balls I can so frequently throw. Through thick and thin they have proved themselves; these are the people I choose to surround myself with. The people who have the biggest impact on my life, the ones who I can rely on and value me regardless.

Having bipolar disorder means that I could be in a different frame of mind from one day to the next, and I know it puts strains on personal relationships. I have days where I want to be alone; I develop a sort of ‘bed separation anxiety’ and struggle to carry out basic day-to-day tasks. I’m normally a very social person, if I go quiet, it’s a key indicator I may not be myself. Having that message pop up on your phone “Hey! Are you okay? I haven’t heard from you!” is sometimes all I need. It might seem an insignificant gesture, but when I’m in that dark place and all I see is the world against me, it turns my whole day around. It makes me feel warm, loved and not so on my own. If I’m particularly bad some friends or family come and help me make that first step to beating the depression. They help me up; encouraging me to take small steps and get back on my feet. The key is making me feel like I have accomplished something that day, no matter how small.

Friends and family may not know every detail about my illness, but they don’t need to

The small, spontaneous actions are often the catalyst for getting me back on my feet, have ultimately gotten me this far and are helping me through the recovery process. Friends and family may not know every detail about my illness, but they don’t need to. They know the real me, they treat me like the human I am. I cannot thank them enough for how well they support me, even when I am too scared to ask for help. All of the small things they do, every minute they take to care about me adds up. There’s no doubt that without this unfaltering support, I may not be around to share my story.

To those loved ones; family and friends of anyone who is struggling with their mental health and to us fighters and survivors who are or have struggled with their own, remember that we cannot do everything on our own. It’s terribly hard for loved ones to see us in distress but it’s equally hard for us. You mustn’t see us as just ‘Being difficult’ or ‘hard work’ because everyone needs a little help every now and again. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to help us, just show that you care and show that there is something for us to fight for.

We’re no different to each other, we’re all human

Sometimes I just need a hand or some gentle encouragement. Someone to say “How are you today?”, “Would you like to go out?” or simply give me a hug and reassurance that things will get better. In the words of Vincent Van Gogh “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”. It’s the accumulation of ordinary, everyday things, the small things that seem so insignificant, which give me and others the hope and desire to continue to fight, and beat, the mental health conditions we face. We’re no different to each other, we’re all human. Some of us just need an extra helping hand.

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