By Katrina Bruni
As a nation, we are improving our awareness of mental health. Digital media has thankfully played a positive part in this, and we are able to spread the message more widely and independently. But for years, mental health denial has persisted. Mental health has been covered up, and has been a taboo subject.
Fighting mental health denial
You’d think by now that it was obvious and fair to say that the majority of us suffer from some form of mental health condition, or have done at some point in our lives. Mental health is a broad term and covers an array of labels and titles which come in many forms and levels of severity. Some people can go through life without ever really noticing and some will never fully recover.
On and off throughout my life, I have experienced depression which has ranged from mild to clinical, as well as PND and high anxiety. I’ve never been diagnosed with any other mental health issue but I am pretty certain I have had OCD, and when I was younger I had anorexia.
Life isn’t easy and it’s unsurprising that we can find things hard to cope with, which can often lead to a breakdown of our mental state. The human mind is complex and we still don’t fully understand it. Evolution has progressively made things tougher for us, as we all seem to be striving and wanting more, wanting to improve ourselves according to our radical ideals and high expectations, wanting to please others all the time, wanting to win in all areas of our life.
It can sometimes feel like we are setting a program in our minds of a destination we want to get to, and that we have to achieve XYZ in the process. Alarmingly, we pile the pressure onto ourselves, reach a block and can no longer move forward. This gives us reason to feel like failures, and can ignite anxiety and lead on to depression.
Some of our behaviours are genetic and some are environmentally influenced. Life is not perfect, or easy; there are billions of humans that walk our earth and we are all different. So why do we find it hard to accept that the majority of us have some form of mental health issue, or have at least experienced one?
Is it because it’s still the unknown? Are we still scared of getting into a conversation about someone’s thoughts? If we were more open, more understanding and more accepting of mental health, then what kind of a world would we live in?
I believe we are conditioned to have this attitude that we must crack on and remain strong when facing adversity. When actually we are living in mental health denial and brushing our problems under the carpet. Then we run the risk of developing more issues later on in life.
Of course, there are some mental health issues that cannot be “cured”, but there are ways of making life easier for that person by using certain coping mechanisms in daily life. My brother who has Autism and ADHD manages with lots of support, and rightly so. Our vulnerable need as much guidance, support and encouragement as possible.
Self-help and help from loved ones
Personally, I have heavily relied on self-help and help from my mum who has been my personal counsellor in life. I have no idea what I would do without her. I know I am really lucky to have her love, support and guidance.
Sadly, so many are less fortunate and need to rely on communities and the public sector. We can still be the change, combat mental health denial, and make a positive impact on others by:
Being more accepting
Being kinder to ourselves and others
Living in the here and now
Evaluating our values
It’s all too easy to fall into a negative mind trap and feel like we can’t make a difference to someone’s day. But we can.
Light and love
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Reproduced with permission, originally posted here