Talking to a friend

By Anonymous

Life is hard – that’s just the way it is. But it’s also up to us to make the best of it that we can. From what my reading up has given me to understand, I think it’s more prevalent amongst Millennials, because mental health is down to a combination of circumstances around us and brain chemistry. It just so happens that we were born at a time when there are a lot of circumstances in day-to-day life that make for poor mental health: very stressful work environments, lots of high pressure culturally and socially to achieve and to do as well as our parents’ generation, a cultural upsurge in narcissism, isolationism, and other outlooks that promote the notion that you have to make it on your own steam and also that emphasise the thought that any imperfections (like mental health issues) are signs of weakness and must be quashed or ignored or something.

But because it all happens in your head, it’s very easy to just attribute it to yourself and let it affect your view of yourself. For a long time that’s how it was for me. I just assumed it was normal and just something that nobody talked about, that every now and again you have days at a time when getting up is a nightmare and doing literally anything is a mammoth exercise in patience. A big part of dealing with it, I’ve found, is repeating the mantra that it happening is not your fault; it is an unconscious part of your brain chemistry and neither something to feel guilty about or to take responsibility for. What you can take responsibility for is how you deal with it –  learning to recognise the symptoms so that you can stagger social engagements that would be difficult, or make a point of going to see family for support; learn what is easy and helps with down days, even if it’s just making sure that there’s a hot water bottle in bed to go back to the second you make it away from work, or going out to dinner to treat yourself and making sure you feel valuable in spite of what your own head is telling you.

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