Mental health awareness month: Enough with the tough love!

Ha, there was me saying about writing some lighter posts and bam you get 2 serious ones one after the next. But this blog is a place for me to vent and process and lately, I have so much to get off my chest.

And it’s because of that which leads me on to today’s blog topic. I recently decided to seek help because my mental health was becoming a little too worrying for my liking. Now I’m not lucky for having battled severe depression, anxiety and self-harm in the past but I am lucky that as a result of that I know the warning signs. When to say no this isn’t quite right and I should seek help.

May is mental health awareness month and it is great to see my social media feeds filled with people talking about mental health and breaking the stigma behind it. This is exactly what is needed. One thing that I see repeated over and over in these messages is the words “talk to someone.”

Based on my recent mental health I decided to do just that. I thought I was being proactive, doing the right thing and that it would help me to get better.

But you know what I encountered when I did? Someone that made me feel that me wanting to talk about my mental health and seek help was an inconvenience. They gave me so much attitude and made me feel extremely uncomfortable, leading me to think how am I supposed to open up to this person? How am I supposed to talk to them? When just from a few minutes on the phone I was already feeling on edge and was already thinking that the appointment could make me worse and not better if I was to endure more of the same attitude.

I’d like to say this is an isolated instance but it’s not. Many times in the past have I sought out help but been treated with utter contempt and no compassion. Some even provoking my already self-loathing so much that I’ve self-harmed or gone to the hospital. And I’ve heard similar stories from friends.

It baffles me beyond belief that there are people working with such vulnerable people who are literally begging for their help and yet they can be so cold and atagonistic.

I understand that they have to be tough at times and they deal with some difficult situations. However, as the first point of contact, I feel a compassionate and welcoming attitude makes all the difference. Especially for people that feel so vulnerable and alone that they have nowhere to turn or don’t want to be a burden. That are reaching out despite their fear of further rejection. Despite being told to snap out of it and keep their chin up. That this might just be their only hope.

Imagine being so depressed or in the midst of a panic attack that you just cannot control and despite your head telling you just end it, you don’t deserve to be here, that you actually seek help; only to be confronted by someone that makes you feel even more of a waste of space and their attitude towards you provokes your thoughts even further, potentially leaving you even more at risk. The consequences are unthinkable.

And so I say enough with the tough love. We need more compassion and more empathy in this world, especially for those that are so vulnerable. Any of us, rich or poor, young or old and from many different walks of life can find ourselves in this position. Mental health affects us all. You may say to yourself that you’ll never find yourself in that position, and believe me I’ve said it myself, only it did happen and it does happen; it’s not something you can ever predict. You just have to hope that if it does happen to you that you encounter people with empathy and compassion that help you through it.

My next post will be about a silver lining I have found in relation to this problem that has restored my faith somewhat.

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P.S I just want to add that I don’t wish this post to deter anyone that needs help from seeking the help they need. There are many options and many great people that work in mental health to support you and want to see you get better. I have a blog post on my old blog with details of where you can go to get help here.

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