Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A Mental Health Blog Post That Rocked Me To the Core


The other day I read a mental health blog post that rocked me to the core. 

Here I was, minding my own business, you know, procrastinating on facebook when a link appeared in my news feed. It caught my attention so I decided that it looked like it was worth my time in reading it - even if I just glazed over it, I thought it still sounded good (you know, as we live in the 21st century and we prioritise things worth our precious time!)

The words before me really opened my eyes, challenged my thoughts and evoked a real burning desire to share what this person had written with others.

The title of the post was "Depression is NOT a mental illness".
At first I was like what is this person on about, of course it is a mental health illness - oh boy, let me get my boxing gloves out in self defence as I begrudging read the words on the page becoming more and more furious over a non believer of mental health.... but I was wrong, oh so wrong.

It was these paragraphs that I reread at least 10 times over, as what the author was trying to say made total sense and was a completely different perspective to what I have ever thought or read about.

This is what she said;

"The media, bless 'em, do their best to paint any form of mental illness in a positive light. Explaining that depression, anxiety, addiction and anything related to those three are now legitimate diseases that deserve the same respect and attention as anything physical.

Well thanks but the last I heard, the brain was a part of the body, and a damn important one at that.
As long as we treat an illness of the brain as something different from the rest of the body then it will never receive the same amount of attention." 

To read the whole article click HERE.
To be honest, it was at this point I cried. I cried because I knew that if governments, health workers, and people like you and I started referring to depression, anxiety and other horrible illnesses as physical ailments, then perhaps they would start to receive the same respect, funding, understanding, caring and attention that they deserve.
1 in 5 people are affected by these illnesses.
1 in 5 people are longing for a normal life where they can spring out of bed, concentrate at work, genuinely feel the warmth and fuzzy feelings of happiness, experience the reviving feeling after a full nights sleep, be able to breathe and not just the automatic type of breathing but the breathing that fills your lungs and makes your whole body tingle, bringing about a sense of calmness.
1 in 5 people just long to be able to openly talk about how they are feeling and to be understood, appreciated, and given the support, guidance and help that they deserve.
It still disgusts me that last year was the first year that the government wrote a formal paper on mental health, reporting the statistics, creating preventative strategies and finally recognising the seriousness of the epidemic that is facing not only Australia, but the world.

A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

It still shocks me to the core when I read articles about the government sweeping suicide statistics and depression and anxiety statistics under the carpet - to what avail I must ask? Are they ashamed? Is it too big of a problem to deal with in before the next election? Will it cost too much money to invest their time and finances in to come to a solution? 

This article shocked the pants off of me - in this day in age, with all of Australia's history with the Stolen Generation, the escalating suicide statistics, and mental health organisations, we are still hiding information and misrepresenting different populations?

It disgusts me that there are still non-believers and non-recognisers of mental health issues in communities.

It hurts me when I read comments from people saying that they have reached out for support and have been met with comments like "cheer up buttercup" and have lost jobs, family and friends because of their current circumstance.

To check out the comments click here
This really hit home when a poem that I wrote was picked up and posted on the R U OK Day's facebook page. I was honored, excited and immensely happy that my poem had been shared to a wider audience and it quickly attracted comments, likes and shares (in fact, it had 2.5 thousand likes, 1,379 shares and a whole stack of comments). As I started reading what people had to share, I was both shocked and inspired. I just couldn't believe that so many people who were suffering, tried to speak out, were met with disdain, horrible comments and rejection, and decided that it was "easier to suffer in silence".

This broke my heart.

Am I really naive to believe that people are becoming more open and understanding to people suffering from depression, anxiety and illnesses like?

Would people be more open to learning about depression and anxiety, and be more comforting towards friends and family and helping people receive the care that they need and deserve if these illnesses were referred to as physical ones?

Why is it when people think of mental health and anything to do with the "mind" that the mind and thinking can be manipulated, changed and controlled, and thus someone who is suffering should be able to "snap out of it" or "change their way of thinking" or just "get over it?"

What happens if we started referring the problem to the brain and not the mind? What happens if people started to learn more about the chemical Seronotin in the brain that controls moods, thoughts, feelings and actions, and when the brain stops producing this chemical then people start to fall ill - will it change people's responses?

Just like you can't change the white blood cells in your veins when you have cancer, you can't change the levels of serotonin in your body when you are ill, without medication and treatment.

Depression, anxiety and illnesses alike are serious - they are real - they claim lives every day.

They are formed in the brain, controlled by the imbalance in the chemical Serotonin, and they deserve the respect, love, support, medical attention, government funding and policy making, support by employers and employees and friends and family members to get the person back on track - and to know that they are loved, and not thought of or viewed any differently to someone suffering from cancer, or heart disease, or any other physical illness.

I love that blog post that rocked my core - opened my eyes and has completely changed even my open mind and views of depression, anxiety and illnesses alike.

I had a physical illness - I suffered from depression.

I'd hope that if I ever suffer again, that I am treated the same as someone with a physical illness by all those who cross my path.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think people's views would change if these illnesses are seen as physical ailments?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

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