If your friend is experiencing mental health problems, there are a lot of things - big and small - that you can do to help. These stories are about the good and bad ways that friends have responded to someone with a mental health problem.
I’m unsure I’ve ever been described as an ‘inspiration’, until now. Should it even matter?
I think it does because words – carefully-chosen or not – can shape attitudes. How often have we watched, or read about, a Paralympian’s medal-winning success and the adjective ‘inspirational’ has been used? It’s meant as a sincere compliment, and yet an unintended consequence may be to reinforce what makes them different.
We are Emma and Sophie and two years ago we bumped into each other while we were out for dinner. We had been really good friends in the past but had fallen out of touch over the last few years. We had never meant to lose touch but we had both been scared that too much time had gone by to reconnect.
This was what my colleague said to me, while I was explaining why I had to go home early from work that day. I had just finished crying and felt tired, overwhelmed and exhausted. I felt short of breath and panicky; what I imagine a mild heart attack might feel like. Guess I wasn’t explaining this clearly enough to him.
It’s so important to surround yourself with loved ones who care about you and acknowledge your mental health difficulties. You need a stable support network around you, even if it is just one or two people you can really count on.