Mental Health: Why You Need To Educate Yourself

With 2017 just round the corner, and 2016 being the most shattering, gloomy year for many people. For personal reasons and many others. I think 2017 really needs to be the year of educating society on mental health, being more understand of people's mental illness, we all face a battle of some sort with mental illness, me included and I've always thought 'when will the ache end' or 'i don't know how much longer i can do this' - mental health is draining, both psychically and emotionally.

Of course, mental illnesses have always been a thing and people have always suffered with them; however, we generally are just more aware of people's suffering now, thanks to the media and technological and scientific advances. We are more aware of the illnesses out there, there is more help available and the whole topic of mental health isn't as taboo as it once was. However, despite how far we've come, despite all of these developments, we still have far to go.

Millions of people wake up each morning and go out to face the world with a metaphorical dark cloud over their heads and a weight on their shoulders. Fighting a battle inside their own head which is invisible to all around them. That's why it can be so difficult to help people with mental illnesses, they're invisible. Only the people who suffer from mental illness' know exactly what it's like to have them, only they know what they are going through and only they know how hard it is for them to explain the pain they are enduring. Sometimes it's just so hard to pin point the issue or questioning why your anxiety is causing this pain and why is your depression causing this emotional outburst. Sometimes it's difficult to admit you need help, some guidance, sometimes it's so hard, you feel that your family will judge how you are feeling and belittle you unintentionally 

Mental illness is such a personal thing. Millions of people have the same type of illness but they will all suffer in a different way. Like I said, it's inside your own head and everyone's mind works in a different way, therefore, it would be impossible to write a rule book on how to help people deal with their mental illnesses that works universally. Different people want different things. However, we can educate ourselves on the basics and then, when we know the person in more depth and when we are closer to them, we can understand their individual wants and needs. Even those closest to you may not know about mental health despite being around it, witnessing the effects it has on people. I think not only educating society on mental health but ourselves too.

Almost every human being on this earth is suffering from a mental illness or will do in the future, some are feeling trapped in their own minds, some are contemplating suicide because of how trapped they feel. We may not know the full story but we can always try and be helpful to those struggling. letting them know it's going to be okay - if not now then in the future. Keep fighting. Let them know you are there. If it's your mother, sibling or any other family member dealing with a mental illness, saying you know how they feeling isn't helpful at all, if if you think you are helping, it just sounds like you are belittling their feelings and emotions. I can't tell you how many times I've had people say 'i know how it feels, i grew up around mental illness' IT'S NOT THE SAME AS SUFFERING FROM A MENTAL ILLNESS. You may think i'm being whiny or whatever but it's just not the same as dealing with a mental illness 24/7 & being around it. That's something i wish people would stop saying.

"But what can I do?" You may ask. Well, if you're reading this right now, that means you have access to the internet. You probably carry your smart phone around with you most of the time; meaning Google (or another search engine of your choice) is right at your fingertips. It takes seconds to type in the name of a mental illness' and read up on its symptoms, possible treatments and what it entails. The NHS website or any other medical website, for example, is available to everyone and it gives in depth information on any illness you may or may not be able to think of. There is information out there, readily available to you,  and you just have to look for it. All it takes is a few taps of a keyboard and you could potentially learn something which will save a life. How many times a day do you scroll through Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Probably more than necessary and its probably out of habit and boredom, so, use those times of boredom to educate yourself on what is going on around you. If you see someone online struggling with a mental illness, give them an option of messaging you - they may not take you up on that offer but let them know you are there if they need someone to talk/vent too

 And you may not think that you need to know anything about mental illnesses but just try putting yourself in the shoes of someone who has one. It can mean the world to them to meet someone who just GETS IT. Sometimes, all it takes to put a smile on their face is for someone to be kind to them, not talk to them in a condescending way and for someone to treat them like a normal human being as oppose to being awkward around them because they aren’t sure what they should say. Do something about your mental health knowledge. Expand the little bubble that you live in, realize that there are more mental illnesses other than anxiety, depression, bipolar and OCD, there is a big world out there waiting for you to explore it, so do just that, if not for your own sake, but for others. Just educate yourself and be aware someone is fighting a hard battle right now so be understanding, be kind. Educate people around you.

It's inspiring to see & know there is many people in the public eye that talk openly about their mental health, telling their story - showing the world that mental illness isn't something we should ignore. Mental illness' are invisible but they are just as important as the physical. Thank you to Demi Lovato, Carrie Fisher (may she rest in peace), Britney Spears, Catherine Zeta-Jones, J.K. Rowling, Pete Wentz, Jared Padalecki and many more for shutting down the stigma's of mental health and showing whatever you may be struggling with, whether it's mental health issues, or any other hardship in your life, you are not alone and that there's no shame in dealing with mental health

If you ever need someone to talk to or have any questions, please don't hesitate in sending me a message.

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