Hi, welcome back!
This week saw international mental health day on Wednesday, I saw posts left right and centre showing support for the fight against mental health and for people who live in the mental health reality, battling the beast everyday.
For those people who shared their stories on Wednesday, I am so so proud of you. It warms my cold heart that you felt empowered to share. You are brave, you are strong and you took a huge step sharing.
As I shared on my social medias, my mental health is in a shocking state currently. I’ve been crying on the way to work, breaking down in the evenings and hiding away at the weekends because I would rather just be in a little covers burrito on my sofa than talk to anyone.
I’m a lucky little bear, I have people around me who honestly care about me and my head.
I just want to thank those people who honestly pull up and know when I’m struggling, I feel it’s important to thank the people who hold you up when you’re drowning. Those people who relentlessly text me to see how I am doing – even if I don’t reply, my family who may not always get it but will reach out and message me, my GAL SQUAD – who make those bad days a little easier by sending me really really shit memes, hitting me with awful chat and (sorry to name you here) how much of a lightweight Lauren is!
Then there are the people, who people don’t know I have that special bond with, the people I don’t see everyday but I can have the most open and honest chats with. The people who I never saw being my mental saviours and the ones who know I’m broken but treat me like nothing is up but look after me in their own special ways, even though it’s never said out loud.
Now two very personal thank you’s, firstly a thank you for three boys who have known me since school. I’m going to name them because honestly without them, I would have drowned a long time ago. So Henry, Oliver and Hugo – thank you for being my life float when I couldn’t keep myself above water. Secondly, Pablo (Alice), the women who can turn a bad day into a less shit one with garlic bread and Abba, I didn’t realise how much I needed your support until you rolled up.
Let’s remember it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to have depression, anxiety, bi-polar and all the fun other mental health issues we get being the complex meat bags we are.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling, check out Mind. They are a mental health charity who can help find local support for you, help you with your mental health and even have a legal line to help you should you face any discrimination due to your mental health. You can check it out here.
Now what can you do to support the people in your life who struggle with mental health?
Support them to get help, but remember you can’t force anyone to get help until they are ready. Reassure them that it’s ok to ask for help and there is help out there.
Be open about depression. Depression is still such a taboo subject and we should make it easy to speak about, we should be able to open up about how we feel without feeling shame or the stigma of mental health hanging over us like a dark cloud. They are already battling one dark entity, lets not add another. Don’t feel under pressure to provide all the answers however, because you wont always have them.
Keep in touch. They may not always respond but your message will mean more than you know. Just send a message. Any message. Sometimes it will be hard to break the shell and get through, but keep trying – you will get a response.
Don’t be a critical asshole. Please don’t say to someone “just snap out of it”, “man up”, “get over it”, “a nap will fix it” and “it’s just a cry for help”. Don’t add pressure for an instant fix, the person you love is already being critical enough of themselves, don’t add to it.
Accept them as they are. Don’t judge. No point in asking why they are depressed because they likely don’t know, it’s just not how depression works.
Don’t give up, they need you more than you think.
Remember depression is serious and not something that can be pushed away. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Ask if they need help but encourage them to do things with you, even if it’s as simple as just cooking dinner.
Do you want to start a conversation with someone, these are some good opening lines;
“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”
“Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”
“I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.”
What’s some questions you can ask?
“When did you begin feeling like this?”
“Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”
“How can I best support you right now?”
“Have you thought about getting help?”
If you have any questions on how to support someone or you’re struggling feel free to pop me over a message on my contact page which you can find here
Let’s open a dialogue, let’s end the stigma, together.