Mental health problems are more and more prevalent in today’s society and chances are that if you’re reading this, you either know someone or you are someone who is fighting the battle everyday. So often, people who are living with mental health problems and even those supporting someone doing so can find it difficult to speak out about their experiences, partly because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health but also because there are often so many different emotions involved for each individual.
Having had my own experiences with mental health problems, I wanted to write a sort of open letter to others without trying to encompass all experiences. I wanted to write things that I was either told by dear friends and family, helpful professionals or simply things that I now know that I so desperately needed to hear at the time, so here it is:
The strength that you possess, you should be so proud of.
Many people in your life will be trying to label you, trying to identify you as “ a ____ person” rather than “someone living with ____”. These problems don’t define you though. It is really important for you to recognise that the latter still places the emphasis on YOU. The beautiful, kind person that so many people are thrilled to say they know. Not the problem currently sitting on your back, trying to convince you that that’s all you are now. You are so much more, you always have been and you always will be.
Ultimately, these problems are yours and yours alone and although that is intimidating, it can also be reassuring to know that no-one else can take them on or tell you what’s best for you to do with them. Only you will be able to find a way to handle them and if you can’t beat them straight away then that’s okay too. It shows amazing strength to face difficulty every day.
The problems are yours, but this isn’t to say that the people who want to help, to listen and to support you should be pushed away. It can often seem like the best thing to do, especially when it feels like you are a burden to them. I need to tell you now that you aren’t. Truly caring about someone means standing by them through the most difficult times. Truly caring about someone is for who they are, not what they are living with.
Although it doesn’t feel like it, there is a point in the future where things feel better. I’m not going to echo the saccharine sentiment that “things GET better” because there isn’t always a fix for some people but I want to stress that things can FEEL better. There are people just like you who love, live and achieve their dreams and many have done it still not ‘in recovery’.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like your way of coping isn’t good enough and always praise yourself for what you do.
You are brave, you are loved and things can feel better.
I blog over at princessparasox, where you’ll find all of my social media accounts, or you can contact me privately anytime with an email to email@example.com.
If you would like support, check out this site: http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/