Everyone goes through a period of illness. A period where you just want to close yourself off from the world until you feel better. And it happens to everyone.
I have talked previously about how I sometimes have panic attacks, and they can vary from hyperventilating to bouts of being sick. The worst thing about them, is that they can be set off by nothing in particular. I can be working away perfectly happily, and suddenly I will feel inadequate and start panicking. This normally involves crying. I shouldn’t need to inform anyone, publicly crying at the age of 35 is really embarrassing. It is even worse when you can’t explain why you are crying.
For a lot of people, mental health often impacts them most when they don’t expect it. And that, makes it very difficult to deal with. It means that people have to almost re-learn their own behaviours, to try and combat them. Whilst problems, like depression and anxiety, can be suffocating at times, it can mutate the issue to another level when you have to try and explain it to someone else.
For a long time, I felt that I was doing something wrong. I’d experience mental health issues, try to speak to someone about, and would find myself belittled. I wish it was a rare thing, but most people who have suffered with mental health issues, have been told at sometime to ‘grow up and get over it’. These throwaway comments can hurt someone who is going through a time where they feel vulnerable. And it can make it difficult to try and talk when you do feel bad, as you automatically assume that everything will just be thrown back in your face.
As I said before, sometimes I my anxiety hits hard and I can be physically sick. When this happens, I will tell people that I ‘don’t feel well’ rather than trying to explain it’s mental health related. When I say that I have been physically sick, people as if I’m okay, and leave me alone. However, if I state my anxiety is giving me hell, then people want to know exactly why I am feeling like this. It’s difficult because I know a lot of people just want to help, but if I had the answers, I would be able to help myself.
People need to realise how they speak to people with mental health issues. Don’t belittle a person, and don’t be too prying either. It’s difficult, but someone suffering just needs you to be there and respect where they are, mentally. Don’t expect a person to come forward with loads of answers, because a lot of the time, they don’t know what is causing them to have a bad mental health day/week/month. What they don’t need is 50 questions fired in their direction.
I hope, at some stage, I’ll be able to say, ‘my mental health is shit’, and that be enough. But till then, I just appear to constantly have a vomiting bug.