We are coming to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week but for those that live with mental health, the awareness never ends; it’s not something we can put on the shelf until next year.
When it comes to the stigma associated with mental health, I would like to say society is progressing. Since being diagnosed with depression and anxiety in my early teens, I feel much more comfortable discussing it these days; this could be down to age, maturity or that the walls surrounding mental health are slowly being knocked down…I’d like to think the latter.
Still there are some people out there that have no clue, this could because they have never experienced anything like it themselves or they simply don’t care to learn.
One common stigma I’d like to clear up in this post is anxiety & depression is not seasonal.
Throughout the years, I’ve heard it all ‘c’mon, you’ve got nothing to be sad about.’ ‘It can’t be that bad.’ And the classic ‘cheer up.’ But one of the worst, most common sentences as soon as it hits spring/summer time is ‘How can you be in a mood on a day like today?’ It’s almost like they have this image of people with depression, anxiety or any mental health disorder hiding away all winter, sobbing in a corner waiting for the sun to shine through the window, wake us all up and feel great again. We are not bears. We do not hibernate.
Now I’m not saying these people are stupid. Nor am I saying they’re rude. They’re just uneducated on the subject, which is why Mental Health Awareness Week is so essential. It gives people who feel they don’t have a voice, a platform to speak out and be heard.
Summer if anything, can be the worst season, especially for those that suffer anxiety. Sure, the heat and the BBQ’s are great but the constant socialising, often with new people, trying to find an outfit that covers you up on the days you are not feeling good about yourself that isn’t going to give you heat stroke can be tough.
So next time you see somebody not quite acting themselves, think before you speak because even with the sun shining, the birds singing, it may have taken everything they had to get out of bed that morning.
If you know somebody, whether it be a family member/friend living with anxiety or depression and you’d like to learn more on how you can support them or you’d simply like to broaden your knowledge on these two illnesses, here are a couple of websites: