“Depression is an illness, not a weakness nor a trait”.
This is probably one of the most powerful phrases about mental illness that I have heard. For anyone that thinks depression is a temporary emotion, just like happiness or anger, think again. Depression is an illness and nothing to be ashamed of.
My name is Andy. I’m married to my wonderful wife, Sam, and I have a two-and-a-bit year-old toddler, Ben. And for the first year of Ben’s life, I suffered first post-natal depression, and then full-blown clinical depression.
Mental illness has a vast and diverse spectrum. In its most simple form, a summary of ill mental health could be; troubles of the mind that has adverse impact on people’s day to day lives. What people often forget is that mental illness may not just affect the recipient, but also the people around them. The chances of encountering ill mental health in a lifetime are approximately one in four, which means if you are lucky enough to escape, you will still most likely be in close contact to someone who hasn’t been as fortunate.
Recently I’ve come across a number of articles/blog posts about what not to say to a friend/loved one with certain mental health problems. Whilst these are useful, as it’s hard to know what comments could affect others more than you, constantly hearing ‘don’t say this’ and ‘don’t say that’ can make people feel like they have to tiptoe around people who are struggling. This feeling is not necessary and can make the conversation even harder to have than it already is, or prevent it from happening altogether.
Through all of my life I have wanted to help people, whether that be in a physical way or a psychological one. It has been my goal since recovering from depression, and will always be my goal for as long as I am alive, to help people understand mental health, and to remove the terrible stigma which still surrounds mental illness.