As someone who has been combatting mental illness for many years, I felt it was important to share this. I have suffered two major depressions in my life and also struggled with three different eating disorders. I know what it means when your mind takes control of every thought and distorts every single one into something upsetting, disturbing and self-destructive.
Next time you hear someone say how far we’ve come in the fight against mental health, take a moment to consider that statement. 1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness in the UK – around 15 million people. That’s potentially 1 in 4 people you know - one of your close friends, a family member, or a colleague sitting at the desk next to you.
My mother used to say I was pretty much always this way. She would say that she could never leave my brother for even a second; else he would bash his head or throw a fit. She said I would just sit still. She could have left me for hours, she said; of course, she didn’t. I would play with one toy, and then wait, consumed by anxiety, until she gave her permission that I could play with another. This confused her. She had never once told me that I needed her permission to play.
For many, Christmas is an exciting celebration, but for the 1 in 4 people with a mental illness it may be a time of sadness or worry. If you know someone struggling with a mental health problem, they may need a little extra support over the Christmas period.
Those with mental health problems often have to put on a mask and appear happy from day to day, and this can become even harder as the festive period promotes happiness and joy all around. Whilst Christmas promotes happiness in society, it can exacerbate the situation those with mental health problems face.