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The Message of Mental Health

Hello poppets,

How the dickens are we?

Yes this post was supposed to be in video form but somehow this egg completely forgot she was going away tomorrow and to see BAD RELIGION. Maybe not that I forgot, but more that the back end of the year has just FLOWN by and it seems only a mere morsel of time since the great Greg Graffin announced he would be coming to New Zealand.

Anyway, I will be editing and posting the video on Saturday when I get home but in the mean time have shared that videos topic in the post below. A topic that has been bugging me for a while now. Also this post is probably a little more put together than the video since I have been quite so flustered and upset by what I have seen on the internet of late.

*DEEP BREATH*

Firstly, I want to start this by saying how wonderful it is that we now live in a society where we can talk about mental health difficulties and open up when were struggling. Gee whiz, at one point we couldn’t have done that. Not on your Nelly.

You know the drill here, I believe my abuser became the person she was and left me with my story due to not being able to open up about her mental health difficulties, anger and the things she went through. With that you can imagine how important I feel it is to talk about mental health and its difficulties.

We live in a society now where we can talk about our feelings and share when we are struggling which is AMAZING my worry is…

we are still running with it.

I feel there is masses and masses of people now talking about how hard life can be. So many people are bravely opening up about their struggles and showing that its okay to be not okay i just feel we are now at a place where we are all saying that. All opening up and all talking about how difficult life can sometimes be but were not offering anything else. We are offering comfort so people feel less alone which is SO incredibly important in itself but we’re not actually helping people move forward and I feel we are leaving people with a very different message about mental health.

I have seen this a bit in the media but feel that especially on social media we are constantly putting out a message that almost says to accept struggle and just embrace life as it is, struggles and all.

There is my favourite *hint of sarcasm* meme/image that seems to be going round again which talks about mental health being a chemical imbalance. I wont be going in to the whole chemical imbalance thing now as I feel it would be a whole different blog post in itself. What I will say is that I guarantee the majority of those people sharing that message haven’t looked at the research that has gone into the whole ‘chemical imbalance theory’ and are only repeating that information from others. A quick google of ‘Chemical imbalance theory’ will bring up hundreds of doctors and psychiatrist debunking the whole ‘All mental illness is a chemical imbalance’ myth.

It’s scary to me to think that image or message is being sent out by influencers to hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds and thousands of young people suggesting that the theory covers everyone and that theres nothing they can do about their struggles.

Mental health difficulties can develop for such a wide rang of reasons. grief, trauma, bullying, overworking, excess stress, lack of support etc. We are stopping people working through their struggles and leaving them feeling like these things are something that has just randomly happened in their heads. Teaching people that have a history of severe trauma or traumatic events that all that has nothing to do with how they feel on the daily.

I know something that really helped me in my final therapy when i walked in with all these different labels attached, scared and not knowing who i was or what i had and my therapist sat me down, looked me straight in the eyes and said you are nothing but a product of your circumstances. You are terrified.

Now, let me say this. PTSD is SO much more complex than just being frightened. Its so much more than that but at the end of the day I was technically just frightened and rightly so because i had been through 18 years of abuse. Though it all feels far from normal it’s a normal reaction to what some of us have been through. For some reason we expect to come out of these incredibly frightening situations with our mental health in tact.

In regards to my OCD it had basically developed because I had no control over my life. I had repeatedly been blamed for things and constantly bad things were happening to me. With that my brain (or me) had decided to counteract everything by making sure everything was okay at all times so I wouldn’t be blamed and punished for it.

For me it would have been more of a worry if I had come out of 18 years of abuse fine and

having a lovely time

I had to sort through what had happened to me. I had to realise it wasn’t my fault. I had to let go of all that hurt and anger and I basically had to relearn how to think because the way I was thinking was so warped from the things I had seen and information I had been taking in.

When people ask me how I got so far in my recovery I basically tell them that I had to do everything I didn’t want to do. I couldn’t even think about the things that had happened to me at one point but I knew to get anywhere I not only had to think about them but I had to talk about them and get all that yuck stuff out and sort through the mess.

People will tell you that recovery isn’t possible because they tried a therapy or tried a medication and It didn’t work. You guys need to remind me to sit down and actually go through all my paperwork and work out HOW MANY THERAPIES I tried to get to where I am today. This wasn’t just an easy one take ‘walk into a therapist and be cured’ sort of a deal. This has been years of hard work and dedication and working through the things I had been through and what left me with these different and challenging ways of thinking. The most important thing is though, I didn’t quit. I believed that eventually I would change my life and that I wouldn’t have to live the way I was.

Again, mental health doesn’t have to develop from abuse and trauma it can develop for such a wide range of reasons. Even from society and the information we’re constantly taking in and told about ourselves. The terrible standards that we are expected to meet.

This isn’t taking away from all those who are bravely sharing their struggles and i 100% believe we need to be doing that i just feel when we are struggling that comfort of listening to other people struggling isn’t moving us forward. I don’t believe we should be altering how much we are talking about our struggles. I feel it is so important to talk about our struggles but i also feel it is just as important to talk about the recovery side and offer hope to people. We should make recovery the thing to do. Not pressuring anyone in to it but not constantly forcing this message of suffering without any substance behind it.

Brace yourselves,

I recently saw a mental health advocate or ‘influencer’ with hundreds of thousands of followers post something that read “the struggle of mental health is permanent and if I had to accept then so do those around me”

*Picks jaw up off the floor*

As you can imagine, I didn’t know where to put myself. Having those around us accept our mental health difficulties is a different topic all together but saying that the struggle is permanent…? Though that caption was changed after the uproar of many I cant help but think of those hundreds and thousands of no doubt young people that were effected by that message. Who were sat struggling and thinking to themselves “This is forever.” It just breaks my heart. That message could prolong someones suffering and leave them feeling like they cant do anything about the way they are feeling. Its okay if someone doesn’t want to chose recovery themselves and cant see life getting any better but to promote that is scary and so damaging.

I also think this very much comes down to what you surround yourself with when you choose to change your life and choose recovery.

Now bear with me, this sounds random. When I first decided I wanted to change my life I got rid of Tumblr. Tumblr was something I was very invested in. I was trapped in my house day after day and was on all these dark accounts talking about abuse and suffering. When I had that change in mindset something made me want to just get rid of it. Subconsciously somewhere I knew that wasn’t good for me.

I think its really important to take in information that matches our paths and where we want our lives to go. There is some INCREDIBLE people talking about recovery.
Mark freeman who you guys know I always bang on about. He overcame OCD and Anxiety and is basically teaching what both me and him learnt in therapy and putting that information out there. Though on a very different topic I recently started following a beautiful lady by the name of Rebecca who has gone from being wheelchair bound, in constant pain and suffering with her mental health to walking, weightlifting and tackling her mental health difficulties. There are also lots of people just choosing recovery and detailing that journey and the highs and lows of that. So so many people I could mention;

Heres my top 3 recovery warriors at the moment;

Mark Freeman
Instagram: @markwfreeman
Twitter : twitter.com/thepathtochange

Rebecca
Instagram: @return_of_reb

Max
Instagram: @Maximillion

You guys always tell me you expect me to be into classic cars and fashion but this is very much my topic. I am fascinated by recovery and its possibilities. Recently I have spent a lot of time researching and looking into the recovery of things like bipolar and schizophrenia and people that have dramatically minimised the symptoms of those disorders. I have had the absolute honour of talking to someone recently that has become 16 years free of schizophrenia with no symptoms. 16 YEARS!

The information to recovery is definitely out there. Its often laced in those really heavy articles which can often be really difficult to read especially when we’re struggling as they are jam packed with information. There are plenty of people though who are repeating that information in ways that are way easier for us to digest and take in.

I know social media isn’t the whole world but it plays a big part in a lot of our lives. Especially those who are struggling and withdraw and spend a lot of time online.I think the body positivity movement has been so beneficial and there is some incredible people teaching us to love and accept ourselves but I truly think we need to look at the message we are sending out about mental health.

I will always have my disorders. I am not cocky in believing that they will never come back. It’s about management for me. Saying that something is permanent though and that there is nothing that people can do about their struggles and how they feel on the daily is not a message I feel we should be putting out there when people are proving that recovery IS possible.

I have been free of my symptoms for nearly 5 years now. I was not the person that you guys see today. I was so damaged and so frightened. For most of my life I didn’t want to be here because I didn’t understand that there was a life outside of suffering. I now live life like I do. Standing on stages and telling people that recovery is possible. I never expected my life to turn out like this. Never ever.

I will say it again

Please talk about mental health difficulties. Mental health difficulties are real and they are happening. It’s so important to talk about that struggle and how real it can be.


I just think the voice of recovery should be just as loud as that of struggle.

Some links for you;

Chemical imbalance;
https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/depression/debunking-two-chemical-imbalance-myths-again

Recovery story example – PTSD;
https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/do-impossible-healing-posttraumatic-stress-disorder

Recovery story example – ; ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/stories/katies-story-recovering-panic-attacks-anxiety-and-depression

Want to change your life and choose recovery? do your research as to what’s our there for you!

xox

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