Episode 31 – Hope For the Best

Do you wonder how we can get through a life with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses?  How do I manage, what kind of motto would I live by to get through?  I share my secret here!

Useful Links:

Whispers of Hope
The Light of Hope

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Just a Trend

Mental Illness is just a Trend

That’s right, you read that right.  I, Alex Davies, founder of a website that promotes mental health awareness and support, just said that mental illness is just a trend.  Do I really believe that?  Of course not!  That said, it’s an interesting topic to consider.  Take a walk with me as I unpack it.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in people being diagnosed with mental health issues.  Now, this could be partly due to the increases in external pressures and triggers, as some people would say, or it could be a greater awareness and openness for mental health.  In the past, mental health was not something that was widely talked about.  You kept it hidden.  It wasn’t heard of.  Out of sight, out of mind, that sort of thing. Nowadays, however, it’s more widely talked about.  So is it that it is on the increase or is it just that more people are talking about it?  That’s something for the philosophers to debate.

What I’d like to know, though, is whether or not the epidemic is as bad as it seems or whether it is “just a trend”.  (Note that my opinion will come at the bottom, so you’ll have to read on to find it!)

So is mental health a trend that people follow?  Are the people who claim to have mental health issues genuine?  From where I sit, I see three immediate categories that we can put this into:

  1. Genuine Sufferers
  2. People who don’t quite get it
  3. The social media hype types
Genuine Sufferers

This is exactly what it says on the tin: people who are genuinely suffering with some form of mental illness.  They have those day-to-day issues that hinder them, whether that’s getting out of bed, looking after themselves or being unable to leave the house.  Their struggles are real, their issues hamper their everyday activities and they clearly have some form of mental illness.  Note, these are not always diagnosed as, for some, they cannot make themselves go to the doctor but many of them will have been diagnosed.  They might be on medication and they may be undergoing therapy or they may be managing it with alternative means.  Nevertheless, they are struggling.

For genuine sufferers, they face a wall of stigma and judgement that often prevents them from expressing how they truly feel.  They keep it buried inside, fearing that other people would be harshly critical of them or simply not know how to express it.

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People Who Don’t Get It

These are probably the most multitudinous that I’ve come across.  You’ve seen them, I’m sure.  The people who post statuses like: “I have to wait a whole year for more Game of Thrones, I’m so depressed!”  In reality, they aren’t depressed, they’re just a little sad, but they blow it out of proportion.  How often do we see it?  Far too often, I think!

Why am I picking up on this group?  Well, I believe it simply adds to the fog of stigma and judgement around us.  If we can see they’re not really depressed, others can see through it too and it just builds up this wishy-washy idea of what depression actually is.  By associating it with the word, it can create that false image that others will then believe.  For all we know, it could be where this “just snap out of it” rubbish came from…

We see it a lot, though, don’t we: the ones who over-exaggerate this sort of thing.  People who give themselves labels without taking that moment to understand what it means.  What is depression?  What is anxiety?  Is it what they make it out to be – being “anxious for school exams” or “depressed because the latest season of Game of Thrones has ended” – or is it something more?

The Social Media Hype Trend

As I’ve mentioned previously, I do a lot of interactions on Twitter and on other social media sites and I now notice patterns in some of the things that go up.  The most common example is the number of people who post things online – particularly photos – and appear to be fishing for compliments.  Comments like “I’m so ugly” or “I’m no good at anything” or “I’m so fat, I need to diet” and other such things are frequent posts.  The photos that are coupled with them, however, more often than not, contradict what is being said.  Like I said: it’s almost as if they’re fishing for compliments.

Now believe me, this isn’t always the case.  Insecurity is a horrible thing and it might be that they just want someone to give them that reassurance.  However, it’s possible that some do it just for the compliments.  If social media makes it “trendy”, everyone wants to get involved.

Your Turn

Over to you…what do you think?  Do you think I’m right or do you think I’m wrong?  Let me know by leaving a comment.  I’m interested in getting a discussion going here.

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The Onus pt 2 – The Damaging Effect

The Onus – We’re Here For You

In June last year, I tackled a subject that I thought was very uncomfortable yet very pertinent to mental health struggles: the effect of putting the onus on people.  In that article, I acknowledged that so often we mean well – we’re here for you, if you need help then all you have to do is call/message/shout – but sometimes that can actually lead to people being more isolated or feeling as though their concerns are not valid.  Basically, it can be highly damaging .  Check out this snippet of my point:

The Onus Problem

What’s the problem?  You’re offering them your support, you’re telling them to contact you if they need the help…so isn’t that a good thing?

Do you know what?  It’s great, it really is.  I’m pleased that you’re there for your friend or family member.  That being said, there’s something you need to consider.

Can they talk about it?

For a lot of people going through mental health struggles, opening up and talking about it is one of the hardest things to do.  Every time my friend struggles and spirals, the first thing she does is hide because she doesn’t feel she can ask for help.  I’m the same: I find it hard to say “I’m struggling, please help me”.  It’s just not something that comes easily.

Are they likely to talk about it? Not always, no.

Realistically, there is another reason that we have to be mindful of when putting the onus on people, one that might be far more dangerous than the one I mentioned in the post itself…

The Onus Effect

For some, the effect that the onus has on them is simply what I said in my previous post about it: that they feel like they can’t ask for help yet they really should be asking and, so, they beat themselves up for not being able to ask.  It can lead to additional stress and frustration and worse.

But that’s not the effect I want to talk about.

I think this one is actually much worse.

For some people…it can make them feel as though they deserve it.

Let me expand on that a little.  See, for some people, they wouldn’t feel like they were able to approach others and ask for the help that they need.  As a result, they wouldn’t get that help because people are putting the onus on them, making them speak up for help and thus trapping them in that cycle of needing help yet being unable to ask for it so not getting it.  Moreover, when no one asks them how they are, if they need help or makes that effort to contact them, it starts them off in a cycle of increasingly negative thinking.

Check out Aimee W’s thoughts on the matter:

Realistically, it’s not an uncommon perception for people struggling with mental health issues, as I am and as Aimee W is.  I’ll be completely honest with you, it’s something I’ve thought plenty of times.  I’ve mentioned before about how people have just cut me off and I’ve not been able to bring myself to be the first to message and that, in turn, has led me to think that I’m not worth it.

That I deserve this…

What Should We Do?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we need to stop putting the onus on other people.  If someone was suffering from cancer or from another physical health condition that left them in hospital, we wouldn’t be expecting them to contact us if they needed anything.  No, we’d be checking up on them, asking what we could do to help.

So why should it be different for mental health?

That’s right: why should it be different for mental health??

The answer is: it shouldn’t!

Really, we should be asking people with mental health difficulties how they’re doing.  We should be making that contact.  Yes, we all have other things that we’re trying to do because everyone has a life to live, everyone has priorities that need taking care of but still…it takes five minutes (if that!) to send someone a message.

1 in 4 people in the UK struggle with mental illness.  Do you know what that means?  That means there are 3 people for everyone 1 of those 4 who could be checking up on them, making sure that everything is alright.  Unless, of course, those 3 people don’t care.

Please don’t be one of those people.

As I’ve said before, reaching out takes 1-2 minutes and it could save a life.

People don’t deserve cancer or leukaemia, they don’t deserve mental illness either.

So please don’t make them feel as though they do.

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I Will Not Give In

Taking Time Out

I’d normally apply the term ‘time-out’ to when I have to deal with my 3-year-old. She sits on a chair for 3 minutes while she thinks about what she’s done (lately it’s been over throwing what can only be described as Oscar-winning tantrums) When she’s had her time she then has to talk to me or my partner about why she was there and apologise. The point is that she reflects on what’s happened and takes appropriate action. I have been back at work for 2 months now and I took a weekend off last week to take time to reflect.  One thing I’ve said repeatedly throughout this has been that I will not give in. I’m still not, but I’ve had a lot to think about.

There have been some good points, certain colleagues have been amazing in their understanding and support.  Two particular colleagues have been nothing short of amazing! I’m constantly humbled by how selfless and wonderful these particular two friends are, even when they have their own problems to battle. If they’re reading this, I want to tell them that I cannot thank you enough. For the listening, the patience,the hot chocolate, the quick trip to the shops and just making me feel like I was wanted at work. Thank you!

What I’ve also had time to reflect on is how the return to work process has gone. Considering the company I work for are currently all over Twitter encouraging people to #GetTheInsideOut, I was surprised by how badly the process has been handled. It’s been disorganised, improperly documented and generally left me feeling unwanted in the workplace. Every little thing, I’ve had to fight for. It’s taken a huge toll on my mental health.

I will not give in.

It could have set me back even further. In some ways it has. I’ve been experiencing serious bouts of sleeplessness, I’ve had 2 relapses into self-harm and only the other night I was lying in bed feeling like every part of my soul was being ripped through my chest while I sobbed.  This process has been a struggle and has been much harder than it should have been.

I would even argue that the only reason I’ve not ended up signed off again is because I’m innately stubborn. I WILL NOT give in. To support my family I need to work, I’ve just needed some support from my employer to be able to do this. But my manager seemed to not have the time, training or support he needed to be able to do this. None of this was his fault. He was left rudderless and without support from his line manager. When he was being made to go on the phones with a frightening regularity to help relieve call volumes, it left little to no time for him to complete basic HR with his team, let alone the additional requirements of a colleague with mental health problems.

That’s the thing though. Like a lot of larger companies, the company I work for loves its catchy little by-lines. You know the sort of thing. Those wonderfully generic phrases that are supposed to make us see them as friendly and warm, not giant corporate machines. Things like ‘we’re here for you’ and ‘putting customers at the heart of what we do’. Big phrases that in actuality don’t really mean much and are vague when it comes down to how it relates to the individual.  Especially when to achieve what they think of as putting customers first it’s at the detriment of their employees. What’s the point of saying you support people with mental health issues if you aren’t willing to give your manager’s time or training to do just that with your employees?

Like Alex said in his place workplace workout, we need to make changes. Employers need to stop paying lip service to their employees. If you’re espousing your company as one that supports sufferers of mental health problems, then do that! Allow your managers the time and training to be able to do that!

Also, we as employees need to not just grumble around the coffee machine. I am probably seen as huge pain in the bum by my managers over the last few weeks. When things haven’t been going as they should I’ve raised it with the senior management, I’ve spoken to HR, taken advice from ACAS and from other employers.  When at my wit’s end that despite the senior manager getting involved and nothing changing, I finally went to the union.

For the first time in eight weeks, I’m finally seeing effective progress. I’ve been moved to a more experienced manager, one I’ve worked with before but one who also is a recognized expert within the department for her skills in HR.  I have had to battle, tooth and nail for very single little thing. I’ve had to reveal far more about my struggle with managers, colleagues, union representatives and more than I ever thought I would have to or that I was comfortable with. But I will not give in and let it break me.

There have been times when this process has nearly broken me. I’m worried it still might. That’s what I really think needs changing. I came across an image a while ago with a quote from someone who can arguably be described as one of the most successful business men in the world; Richard Branson.

More companies need to think like this.  Because speaking as an employee, I know that when I’m supported properly and treated with dignity and respect I can look after my customers to a higher standard than can be dreamed of in your catchy by-lines.

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Episode 30 – Depression, My Only Friend

Hand in hand with depression comes loneliness.  Whether real or imaginary, we can feel as though we are completely alone.  In those moments, it can feel as though depression is our only friend.  Join me as I discuss how that can seem to me.

Useful Links:

The Onus – We’re Here For You
I Had A Black Dog, His Name Was Depression
Identifying Identity

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The Face of Depression

An Impassive Face

One technique that I use to cope when I’m around people, particularly people I know, is that I try and keep an impassive face.  I try and make sure there is no feeling out there, no outward emotion, nothing.  It wards off any unwanted questions.  You know the sort I’m talking about.

A person behind a mask.Previously, I’ve told you about my mask and how I use things like humour to keep people from seeing what’s really inside.  It’s something I do a lot and this impassiveness is a part of it as well, though one i don’t talk about as much.  You may have noticed it, you may not.  Anyway, I’m not going to talk much about my mask because I’ve written enough about that.

This is different.

This is about the face of depression.

The Assumed Face

You might be thinking I’ve lost the plot slightly but hear me out on this one.  You see, I hear it a lot on our social media accounts that people are under the illusion that they can detect a depressed person.  Call it similar to gaydar, where people think they can detect a gay person.  Personally, I think gaydar is a load of rubbish no matter what people tell me, although I will acknowledge that some people make it a little easy to work out!  Anyway, that’s beside the point.

My point is that people think depression has a face.

I remember having a conversation with one of my managers at my old job to tell him that I was struggling.  I clearly remember him looking surprised and saying, “I wouldn’t have guessed!  If you had been put in a line-up with nine other people and I’d been told that one person of those ten was depressed, you’d have been the last person I’d have picked!”

What does that even mean?  How can someone look depressed?  I suppose people will imagine someone looking like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, that gloomy, anhedonic character with the glum, flat voice.  They believe that that is the face of depression, that everyone who suffers is a lot like that.  Is that your experience as well?  Do people expect you to be like this?

That perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

The True Face of Depression

The true face of depression is a hard one.  Why?  Because really, there isn’t one.  Some people will look like Eeyore, it is possible.  They won’t go out, they won’t smile, they won’t show much interest or pleasure in anything.  Others, however, will look very different.  Like the picture on the right.  Most of you will recognise my face there.  I’m smiling.  I seem happy.  Yet, I am depressed.  I am medicated.  A lot of the time, I really struggle.

Where is the face of depression?

What about this image?  Cheryl, dressed up as a mermaid for a Halloween party.  She’s smiling, isn’t she.  If anything, you’d say she looks happy.  Surrounded by family – her daughter and son are just off camera in this photo – she looks as though she’s having a great day.  The reality?  She has depression.  She has anxiety.  Like me, she is also medicated and she struggles.  Perhaps far more than either of us care to admit, we struggle.

Where is the face of depression?

You see, the sad truth is that there is no “face of depression”.  It’s a myth, cultivated by the media and society to make them feel better about mental illness.  Realistically, as I mentioned earlier, it is about as real as this “gaydar” that people talk about.  Yeah, some people give off vibes that practically scream “I’m gay” but there are still plenty of people out there we surprise us when we find out they’re gay.  And it’s the same as depression.

So next time someone admits to you that they’re depressed, don’t ask them what they have to be depressed about.  Don’t tell them they don’t look depressed.  Moreover, don’t assume that we’re fine just because we look happy.

After all: all it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul.  They will never notice how broken you really are.

Depression has no face.  So don’t assume.

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Do You Want to Change the World?

How To Change the World

Make your bed.  I know, not something that sounds very groundbreaking or earth-shattering, but William H. McRaven says that if you want to change the world, start by making your bed.  That way, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.

How often do we, as mental health sufferers, say that we need things to change?  We need people to get on-board and support us through our illnesses.  No one really talks about mental health, it’s too stigmatised, we can’t do it alone, yet no one cares.  How often have you heard those words?  We want to change the world.  We want to raise that all important awareness for mental health so that people will not suffer as we have suffered.  Don’t we?

But how do we do that?

We start by making our bed.  Check out the video below and see what William H. McRaven has to say about that.

Time to Change the World

So do you want to change the world?  Do you really want to change the world?  I think we’ve got everything we need right there to change the world.  Here’s what I took from it:

  1. We need to start by making our bed.  Accomplish the little tasks, that way we will have the courage and the determination to accomplish the bigger tasks but, either way, we will have accomplished something.  No matter how small the accomplishment seems, it is still an accomplishment.
  2. Lift others up.  Encourage them, support them and raise them up.  Empower them to make the change and they will go and make that difference.
  3. One voice became two.  Two voices became three.  So on and so forth.  If we raise our voices together, we can become unstoppable.  Together, we can make that difference but only together.  Only together.  We need to stand as one, joining in that song together so that we can change the world.
  4. Accept that you will fail and that you might fail often.  You will go through relapses.  As long as you don’t stay at rock bottom, you can survive.  You can get through.  It’s alright to fail, as long as you don’t stay there.
  5. Finally, hold onto hope.  As hard as it can seem, hope is there, despite what our mental illnesses tell us.  Hold on, pain ends.  Hope and you can achieve.
The Starfish

I want to leave you with a little story that I think fits in quite nicely here.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.  He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work.  Early

one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Throwerby Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Let’s go change the world!

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Episode 29 – Depression the Emptiness

*Trigger Warning – This episode deals with self-harm.*

A lot of people would associate depression with sadness.  For me, that isn’t the case.  Depression tends to lean more towards the emptiness.  A numbness.  A Harrowing Void that I can’t shake, no matter how hard I try.  That’s what depression typically means for me, but there’s more to it.  Why not join me and find out?

Useful Links:

The Harrowing Void
I Am Cut
Episode 7 – Self-Harm

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Workplace Workout

In the Workplace

What job do you do?  It’s a question we commonly face, isn’t it?  At those large social gatherings where there are lots of people who don’t know each other, it’s one of the staple questions for anyone trying to make the infamous “small talk”.  Do we have a family, what do we do for a living, perhaps what kinds of interests we have.  But…what about how our job is?  We get asked sometimes whether we enjoy it but…what if the workplace sucks?  Do we answer that one honestly?  Perhaps not.

What kind of workplace do you work in, then?  Does it have a good environment?  Hopefully you enjoy the job that you do, but sadly there are a lot of us who don’t.  For some, turning up to work is a chore, something that they do only to earn their keep.  They arrive, do their job, pack up, go home, then repeat the next day.  It might not be the fault of the workplace, it might just be them.  But nowadays there seems to be an awful lot of workplaces that people say aren’t quite as good as they should be.

So what am I writing about here?  Well, unfortunately it’s not to campaign for an overall overhaul of the workplace.  That, I’m afraid, is not something that can happen.  We can’t magically make everyone like their jobs as there are still jobs out there that no one wants to do.  Instead, I’m focusing on one particular aspect of employment.  Have you guessed it yet?

Mental health.

Mental Health in the Workplace

At the moment, it seems as though workplaces have a bad reputation as far as mental health is concerned.  It’s given an inferior place to physical health and colleagues with mental health issues always seem to feel discriminated against.  At least, that’s as far as people’s experiences and the conversations that I’ve had with them seem to go.  There just doesn’t seem to be that overall support for mental health.

In October 2017, the Guardian published an article stating that roughly 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year.  Paul Farmer, Mind’s chief executive, and former HBOS chair Dennis Stevenson authored the Thriving At Work report, which was published with all the budgetary figures and other important information regarding this claim.  They were shocked by the findings, but put part of the problem down to stigma.  It’s almost as if mental health is still a dirty little secret that people have to hide.  They also believe there is a lack of support and a lack of understanding within some workplaces, along with a lack of quick access into mental health services.  Feelings of exclusion or isolation are also common phenomena.

Does this sound about right?  Are those words describing how you feel?  Perhaps, if you’re an employer reading this, it describes how some of your workforce feels.

But what can we do about it?

A Workplace Workout

Is it time to give your workplace a workout?  Stretch those cramped muscles and rejuvenate your workforce and give your employees that sense of value or sense of belonging that they might need.  It sounds difficult, particularly with mental health being such a taboo topic no one talks about, but it is possible.

One thing that I would recommend above all others is that you listen to the needs of your employees.  Despite this culture where we have to get medical professionals involved and get their stamp of authority on everything, the person actually going through the struggle themselves will be more of an expert.  They will know what sorts of things help them, what things don’t, how their individual conditions affect them and so on.  If anything, the doctor will be able to give you the technical know-how and the authoritative stamp, but the patient will be better suited to tell you what they think they need.  Then, it’s up to you.

What are they asking for?  Is it too much to put into place?  Perhaps find the compromise.  After all, the majority of employees with mental health struggles aren’t expecting you to move mountains for them.  They realise that they can’t get everything that they might want, they know there are things that they will have to compromise on.

So what can you do?  Realistically, getting occupational health involved is one of the best things you can do.  They are the trained professionals equipped to assess the employees and determine the best course of action.  Yes, there is a cost involved in bringing them in but surely that cost is less than the cost of your employee going off sick?  As for their suggestions or recommendations, again: is it going to cost you more if your employee goes off sick?  Have a careful think before you decide they are too much trouble.

Workplace Experiences

Those of you who follow my journey will have seen how my mental health affected my time at work.  Looking back, I’m still fairly adamant that I’d still be there if the right things had been put in place.  If occupational health had been brought in, if adjustments had been made, I might have been able to cope.  Instead, the employer decided that it was better to let me, as a temporary employee, go.  Whether that was legal or not, I’m still not certain, but they decided that was their best course of action.

Now take Cheryl as an example.  After an extended period of sickness, she’s returned to work – in the same place that I was.  In all honesty, it’s been a disaster.  She’s been back for four weeks and a lot of things haven’t quite gone according to plan.  Occupational health is only just getting involved, she’s not had a return to work, her manager has been so distant he’s almost not there and she’s been exhausted practically every day from the battle she’s having to fight to get in.  You can check out her experiences in First Day Fears, Educating Employers, Fumbling Through, Time to Talk and Got to Fight For It to find out more information.

The Short Version

In short, you as an employer need to listen to your employee.  Find out what they need and make those reasonable adjustments.  It will cost you less in the long run and help them continue to work for you.  Get occupational health involved and ensure your front line managers are equipped to deal with mental health issues in colleagues.  As mentioned in the report in the Guardian, a lot of people end up losing their job because of a lack of support.  And that’s not just a statistic; I am one of those people.  So please, employers, support your employees.  You could make a difference to them!

Time for that workplace workout.  Need more support?  There are plenty of resources out there, in the form of individuals and organisations who would be happy to help you, myself being one of them.  Go on, give us a chance.  Who knows what a difference it could make?

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Scream

Scream – the Song

Music.  Songs.  Lyrics.  Melodies.  I’ve mentioned previously how much music can connect with me and be therapeutic for me.  More often than not, the music can soothe us, give us something to relate to.  As the image to the right says: we want someone to explain the things we can’t.  So that’s where my post about the song Scream comes in.

As I write this, it’s not a good day.  I’m feeling that Harrowing Void I talk about, rather strongly.  So what do I do?  I turn some music on.  Now, I can’t just listen to albums anymore, I have to put them on shuffle.  I like the randomness of it, not knowing what’s coming next.  I have playlists and albums and individual songs and so much that I can turn to (I have something like 6600 songs on my iPod!!).  Does this sound familiar?  Anyway, as I’m sat here feeling awful, a song comes on and it captures something that’s been going through my mind for a little while now.

It’s called Scream.

Feeling Invisible

Over on our Community Page, on 10/03/2018, we featured a post from Katie called Feeling Invisible.  It was something that grabbed my attention as I was looking for content, because it spoke so clearly to something that I’d thought over the past few weeks.  My thought was: if you had cancer or some other physical illness, people would be checking in and asking how you were; with mental illness, all you can see are tumbleweeds.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome people out there who notice when you disappear, who notice when you’re not around and, perhaps more importantly, who notice when you’re not doing so good.  Cheryl is one of those people and I have another friend called Andrew who is another.  These people are worth millions because they are there when you need them, putting themselves at the back of the line to ensure you get what you need.

Despite having those people around, however, it can feel like you’re invisible.

All too often, people don’t seem to care.  I go through my Twitter or Google+ daily and see cries for help under the various hashtags; people saying they’re stuck in that proverbial rut, unable to cope and needing a bit of help.  And the worst part?  Their posts have practically no comments or anything.

It’s like they’re invisible.

With social media being so crowded with so many people vying for space, it can be difficult to get our voices out there, to make them heard.

Scream

That’s probably why I related so well to this song.  By ZOEGirl, it is an amazing song that talks about that invisibility that we can feel.  The lyrics to Scream, I find, are so powerful.  The opening verse, for starters, says: “Does anybody know how I feel?  Sometimes I’m numb, sometimes I’m overcome.  Does anybody care what’s going on?  Do I have to wear my scars like a badge on my arm for you to see me, I need release…”

ZOEGirl album cover for Scream.Perhaps more powerful than that, the chorus says:  “Do I have to scream for you to hear me?  Do I have to bleed for you to see me?  ‘Cause I grieve, you’re not listening to me.  Do I need to scream?”

How often have you felt like that?  Can you relate?  Desperate for the help, we feel like we want to scream, like we want to bleed so people will notice.  It’s perhaps one of the reasons why self-harm so frequently gets labelled as a cry for help, because it seems to be the only way that we can be heard.

We have to scream.

You Don’t Have To Scream

Those of you reading this, feeling as though you relate…you don’t have to scream.  Knowing what it’s like going through this hell, I’m here for you.  I will listen.  You don’t have to scream for me to hear you, you don’t have to bleed for me to see you.  I will listen.

You don’t have to scream.

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.