Today, is World Mental Health Day.
It has been organised to try to stimulate discussion on what seems to be one of the most stigmatised areas of modern medicine: mental illness.
It is a disease that brings a feeling of isolation to the sufferer but then feeds off the darkness of that same isolation. It is so easy to sink into the dark fog of loneliness, but to put it all into perspective, one person in four is likely to suffer from some sort of mental illness in their lifetime – governments have been elected with a smaller percentage than that!
More importantly, the percentage amongst children is growing, so it is even more essential we remove the taboo surrounding mental illness as soon as possible.
Almost as worrying, according to recent surveys, only about 25 percent of employers say they would give work to someone they knew had a mental illness. In most cases that just does not make sense and combined with the negative reporting in the press of people who suffer with extreme mental problems, it seems the quicker we all educate ourselves and tame our fears, the quicker the stigma attached to the disease will die.
I am going to start by admitting to the world that I have suffered from depression and received medication to control the imbalance in the chemicals that make up my thought processes. I feared people knowing about it – even though I have not been in such a bad way ever since I sought out medical advice. I was lucky, I had a superb and understanding GP who supported me throughout the whole slow healing process but I know some people are not so lucky.
Nowadays, when the ‘black cloud’ starts to descend, I go for a long walk and take action to reduce the stressful parts of my life that I know fuel the fire of my problem. I find it therapeutic to write about the things I used to think about; that is one of the reasons I maintain this blog.
I know it is manageable but I still fear that one day it might not be.
It is for all these reasons, I applaud and support any attempt to make such an illness socially acceptable, for sufferers need to be able to discuss and, thereby, share the burden that is mental illness.
So, please show your support for World Mental Health Day, for if you don’t … you really are mad!!