“It’s just a few tics, don’t worry about it” was one male friend’s response to my writing about life with Tourette’s. That was someone meaning well. The ignorance, misconception and dismissive attitude towards mental health and neurological issues are far worse online. Progress has definitely been made in encouraging men to talk about mental health but more effort needs to be made in showing people how to listen.
However, as a long-term sufferer of bipolar disorder I have mixed feelings about the disclosure of my illness. The experience of stigma has a huge impact on anyone who has experienced mental health problems.
It’s ironic that on Mental Health Awareness Week for 2018 I’ve been signed off sick from work. It wasn’t intentional but it is symbolic. People suffering from mental health problems push themselves too hard for too long trying to pretend that things are OK, pulling a shroud of secrecy over their lives in the hope that people don’t find out how they’re really feeling.
Work and mental illness are very hard to balance. Trust me, I know.
Unemployed, I was so miserable, and my mental health took a huge hit. The constant effort I had to put in to get some money was hard to keep up when I felt like a failure after every rejection.
Seeing friends and telling them I still didn't have a job was embarrassing. Everyone kept talking about what they were doing and where they wanted their career to go. I just stood there feeling like an idiot.